"I became an English as a second language (ESL) teacher because that is intercultural performance," says Bradley.
Bradley earned his teaching license and masters degree from the University of Minnesota, and his first teaching job was at Roosevelt High School in 1999, during the influx of East African refugees to the Twin Cities. He became the ESL coordinator at Roosevelt and eventually moved into administrative roles, as an assistant principal at Edison High School and the principal of Wellstone International High School, whose students are all English language learners. Then, almost three years ago, he got his dream job of principal at Roosevelt.
"Roosevelt is my home. It's my favorite school," he says.
Throughout much of the 1960s and 1970s, Roosevelt was the largest school in the state. In the 1980s, a district reorganization affected the school's programming and enrollment went down. By the 1990s, the school had become marked as one of low rigor and low expectations. It's now the most diverse high school in the district and is seeing a significant increase in enrollment. Bradley says he's accomplishing that change by hiring the best teachers.
Our partnership with the University has really helped. I believe that the post-baccalaureate program is by far the best in the region," he says. "I know the rigor. I know the expectations, and I want those same expectations transferred to my staff."
Last year, the school had five job openings and all of the positions were filled with University graduates. He says each of these teachers has exceeded his expectations.
"We want to re-brand our school and change the reputation," says Bradley. "I believe the way you do that is by building a staff of teacher-leaders and supporting one another, so that we grow collectively better."