“Three people can keep a secret, if two of them are dead.” (Benjamin Franklin).

Typically this time of year I would be reporting on school information released by the Minnesota Department of Education (much not available due to last spring’s Covid 19 shutdown). Without the riveting, ‘MDE Releases 2020 School Data’ headline to catch readers attention, I went instead with one of my favorite quotes.

You might wonder what keeping secrets and school leadership have in common and I would say other than the obvious of protecting student and staff privacy - there’s absolutely nothing common about keeping secrets and operating a school district.

Effective leadership requires open and honest communication on a regular basis. Academics, finances, transportation, goals, staffing, etc. - all should be conducted in the full light of the community. It’s why I publish my email, office line, and cell number in multiple places, including my newspaper articles.

One example of open communication is the result of annual financial audits. These multi-page documents are not always enjoyable to read through but the summaries typically will give you a brief overview of how the district is currently functioning from a financial standpoint. While Braham’s report is not yet final, the preliminary findings suggest a good year. The district continues to operate extremely efficiently compared to most schools across the state and was able to build the fund balance - all while still maintaining our core function of providing a first class educational experience for our students.

Speaking of first class educational experiences, the reasons for this can always be traced back to the number one factor (while within the school building) for student success - the classroom teacher. And here are two of our finest, both recently recognized for their outstanding abilities!

2020-2021 Awards

• Braham’s Teacher of the Year & Leadership in Educational Excellence Award winner: Amber Hoffman (HS Science Teacher).

i. Amber’s 9th year in education (7th in Braham).

ii. Graduate of Rush City HS, College of St Scholastica (Bachelors) & Concordia University-Portland (Masters).

iii. What Amber love’s about her job: My favorite teacher would always tell us, “If you love your job then you’ll never work a day in your life.” Because this is my ninth year in education, I’m more apt to understand this but it took some time to truly grasp it. At first this job was hard for me, in all aspects. But now I joke with my students that they keep me young and give me life. It’s silly but there is truth to it; I feel fulfilled after a day with my students, no matter how trying the day was. A teacher typically has one year to get to know a student, but in a small school we are usually lucky enough to get more time than that and while one year seems long, in truth it is fleeting. Time is precious. We work with kids during the most impressionable times in their lives. And although I hope that I make an impression on them and help guide them in a successful direction, they make impressions on me, too, and help me to work hard and be a better person.

• Leadership in Educational Excellence Award winner: Catie Hanson (Special Education Teacher).

i. Catie’s 6th year of teaching (all in Braham).

ii. Graduate of Cambridge-Isanti HS and MN State University, Moorhead.

iii. Catie loves seeing her students make progress towards their goals and loves the people she works with!

Keep in mind Braham is BIG enough to offer opportunity, and SMALL enough to stand out!

Contact me at 320-396-5199, 320-288-6634, or kgagner@braham.k12.mn.us should you have questions. Follow the district on our website, Facebook, or Twitter at: @Braham_Schools or my own feed @Supt_Gagner.

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