BREMEN — Dedicated. Committed. Supportive.
Those are the most common words that came up repeatedly among staff members of Bremen High School when describing Principal Bruce Jennings, who recently earned the honor of District 2 High School Principal of the Year by the Indiana Association of School Principals (IASP).
Jennings was selected by fellow administrators from schools in the following counties: Elkhart, Fulton, Kosciusko, LaPorte, Marshall, Pulaski, St. Joseph and Starke. Bremen School Board President Jack Jordan was not surprised that Jennings received this recognition from his peers.
“It is impressive how he invests his life trying to help Bremen students realize their unique and amazing potential,” Jordan said. “As a parent and a board member, I am thankful for the great expectations and caring commitment he has for our kids. This recognition and award are much deserved.
Jennings was uplifted by the recognition.
“It’s a challenging, yet rewarding job,” he said. “It’s very uplifting to be recognized by my peers for my efforts in making Bremen High School one of the best schools in northern Indiana.”
Jennings began his career in education as a science teacher, instructing students in chemistry, biology and physics. He then served 22 years as assistant principal of Bremen High School. In 2000, he was recognized as District 2 Assistant Principal of the Year.
He is currently in his sixth year as principal at BHS. Jennings considers the three most important tasks of a high school principal to be safety, people and communication.
As principal, he strives to, “create a safe learning environment for students, staff members, parents and patrons.” He also said he firmly believes that “People, not programs, make a great school. Hire great people and hold on to them.”
Jennings works hard to foster good communication by following two basic cardinal rules: “Make no assumptions and create no surprises.”
His staff members were eager to share their opinions on the matter.
BHS Assistant Principal Nate McKeand said, “It would be difficult to find someone more dedicated to their job, Bremen High School, and the Bremen community, than Bruce Jennings. I have learned a great deal from him.”
Jennifer Heiter, language arts teacher, likes the way Jennings supports teachers. “He believes in us and trusts what we do in the classroom,” she said.
Many staff members commented on the amount of time Jennings devotes to BHS.
Kristi Monesmith, language arts teacher said, “He is highly dedicated to this school and its success. He is often here late at night and early in the morning helping with lots of activities at the school.”
Matthew Sutton, instrumental music teacher, chimed in, “I have never seen an administrator work so hard to attend as many after school events as Bruce does. Bruce shows his support for every student by his willingness to go out of his way, day after day, to go and see their accomplishments.”
Laura Watts, social studies teacher, agreed. “I haven’t met a person who ‘bleeds green’ more than Bruce!”
BHS Athletic Director Troy Holmes commented, “I can’t imagine anyone being more dedicated and committed to Bremen schools and the community than Mr. Jennings. He is a tireless advocate for our students and their education.” “Mr. Jennings holds others and himself to a very high standard because he sincerely wants everyone at Bremen to be successful” he said. “He has devoted his entire life to education and the welfare of our community. This honor is very deserving.”
When selecting a District Principal of the Year, members of the IASP considered many criteria, including leadership at the building level, the district level, the community level and the state level.
During the 2011-12 school year, Jennings lead Bremen High School in three instrumental projects, including: the Teacher Evaluation Pilot Program, the ACT Assessment Series Pilot Program and the One-to-One Computer Initiative.
At the community level, Jennings is involved with many key organizations, including the Marshall County Community Foundation, Bremen Dollars for Scholars and the Kiwanis Club. He is also an American Red Cross 14-gallon Lifetime Blood Donor. At the district and state level, he holds membership and leadership positions in several professional organizations.
Jennings shared his secrets to success.
“I have a loving and understanding wife that has contributed to my success as an educational leader at Bremen High School,” he explained. “I also have the support of staff members, students, parents, and patrons – and that is a special personal fact that not every public school administrator can cite as a contributing factor to one’s outstanding educational leadership. In addition, I absolutely love my school and community!”
The Indiana Association of School Principals is a not-for-profit, professional association serving more than 2,000 building-level administrators in the state of Indiana.
While one principal is honored from each of the 12 districts, an overall state winner is selected from those 12 principals. This year, Steve Baker from Bluffton High School earned the title of State High School Principal of the Year.