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“Seeing kids smile” makes every day great for elementary school principal

Stone Mountain Elementary School Principal Drew Brueckner

HIGHLANDS RANCH – Principal Andrew Brueckner (Drew) has a straightforward approach for leading the charge at Stone Mountain Elementary School.

“Every student needs to be cared for and supported by every adult in the building. We will do whatever it takes to help them be successful.”

Q & A with Drew Brueckner

What was your first job?
Sandwich shop-Claremont Tennis Club, Claremont, California 1984

If you had the opportunity to pursue another career, what would you choose?
Anything with the Denver Broncos. I think I could be highly effective as the guy who squirts the water bottles in the huddle during time outs.

What advice would you share with a college graduate entering field of teaching?

-Work hard to get better everyday.  
-Don't bring your work home.  
-Love every kid, especially the hard ones, they need you the most.
-Greet every kid every day with a smile, a high five, and eye contact.

Who inspires you?

George Washington: First in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen.

Sgt. Alvin C. York: All he wanted was to make the lives of people in his community better. He refused to personally profit from his heroism and continually honored those he served with.

If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one quality or ability, what would it be?
The ability to cure cancer.

If you could uninvent one thing, what would it be?
The designated hitter rule.

What is the last book you read?
Sgt. York: His Life, Legend & Legacy: The Remarkable Untold Story of Sgt. Alvin C. York by John Perry

Have you recently seen a movie that left a lasting impression with you?
Wayne's World. Just watched it on Netflix. Two words...Bohemian Rhapsody.

Who do you believe will be remembered for their impact on society during the early 21st century?
If anyone answers anything other than Peyton Manning, then they need a reality check.  A close second would be the Pope.

What was your favorite subject in high school?
Physics with Mr. Trautwein.

What is your favorite item on your school’s lunch menu?
Popcorn chicken and mashed potatoes.

What was your first car?
1979 Datsun B210. It was a brown four speed, four door and it had a sweet yellow pinstripe. Yes, I am still that cool.

What is your favorite store to browse?  

Do you have a favorite Colorado getaway?
Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium

What is your favorite restaurant?
Chili's. Chicken Soft Tacos, please.

What is your favorite quote?
It's easy to grin
When your ship comes in
And you've got the stock market beat.
But the man worthwhile,
Is the man who can smile,
When his shorts are too tight in the seat.
–Judge Smails

Do you have any pets that enrich your life?
Oscar, an Olde English Bulldog and Zoe, an Akbash.

That philosophy is evident when visiting the school that serves almost 600 students, who know that everyday they need to stay “in the Circle.” The word circle represents five behaviors that students and staff exhibit every day:

  • Caring
  • Improving
  • Respecting
  • Cooperating
  • Learning everyday

“Circle is is the standard we hold every student and adult to in our community. Everyone is committed to helping each other get better and we take care of each other,” Brueckner explained.

Brueckner received a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the University of Denver (DU). He spent three years working for Enterprise Rent-A-Car before returning to DU to secure his teaching license.

“I wanted to coach and I wanted to help kids reach their fullest potential as American citizens,” Brueckner shares.

Teaching license in hand, Brueckner went on to teach at Sierra Middle School in Parker for four years (Social Studies and Technology), and coach high school lacrosse. He also coached middle school football, basketball and volleyball.

Additionally, he earned a master’s degree in Education Administration from the University of Phoenix, and went on to spend four years as the Assistant Principal (AP) at Castle Rock Middle School. He then served as the AP at Saddle Ranch Elementary for a year and also filled the Principal position at Hopkins Elementary School in Littleton for four years. Brueckner became the principal at Stone Mountain Elementary School in 2011.

As he talks about the environment at Stone Mountain, Brueckner credits the faculty at the school for laying the groundwork for student success.

“I trust my teachers to be their best. They are incredibly motivated to improve student success for every child. It is a privilege to be their principal,” he said.

Brueckner’s own childhood also helped form the foundation for his leadership philosophy.

“When I was younger, I went to schools in Ohio, Illinois, Vermont, Texas and California. I know first hand how hard it is to move and make new friends, that you can make the best out of any situation and that you only get out of something what you put in it. I found that having a positive attitude and a willingness to do the hard work nobody else wants to do will allow you to pursue any dream you have, and positively impact the people around you.”

Watching young children learn and grow is something that Brueckner enjoys immensely.

“I love it when students are so proud of their accomplishments they are bursting at the seams to share it with me,” Brueckner said. “It is rewarding to know they care enough to share those kinds of things with me.”

He expresses pride in their achievements as he watches them move on to the next phase of their education.

“They have worked hard to be leaders and improve every day. I look forward to hearing about their successes in middle school and high school. I don't think it really hits me until graduation day. It is an honor to sit on the stage at TRHS commencement and see these incredible young adults cross the stage. They are beaming with a pride and excitement that is clearly visible. What a celebration of the kids’ journey through school! “

April 22, 2015 | By SCPaulsen | Category: District, Elementary Education

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