By Madelyn Williams and Ashley Sager
The district welcomes new superintendent, Thomas Bratten. On Jan. 26, Stohion members Madelyn Williams and Ashley Sager interviewed Bratten in the journalism office.
On Dec. 5, 2014, the Board of Education offered Thomas Bratten an opportunity to fill the position of former superintendent Dr. Russ Jones. Throughout the month of January, Bratten overlapped with Jones to help ensure a smooth transition for the District.
“I consider myself to be extremely blessed and grateful to be working in a school district whose expectations for excellence are so high and apparent,” Bratten said.
Bratten explained how the interview process was more of a scenario type for him, and he explained the fears he had to overcome during these interviews.
“You do as much research as you can, but you don’t the board members names yet,” Bratten said. “You don’t even know where the office is located when you go to the interview.”
“The Board interviewed 10 excellent applicants for the Superintendent’s position over the last three weeks and felt that Tom was the perfect fit for our District,” President of the Board, Fred Bonacci stated in a press release from the district. “We are confident with Tom’s background and experience, knowing that he will be able to lead our District well for many years to come. We are all very excited that he accepted our offer.”
Bratten attended the University of North Carolina where he played football, then he went to Miami University, where he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary English Education. He has also earned a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from Xavier University, his principal’s license from the University of Akron and his superintendent’s license from Ashland University.
Bratten entered the classroom in 1991 as an English teacher at Cincinnati Moeller High School in Cincinnati and has also taught in various other school districts. With this experience, he has a lot of knowledge to put forth in and out of the classrooms.
Most recently, he has served as Superintendent of Salem City Schools from 2009 to 2014. Right before that he was an Assistant Principal, High School Principal and Director of Career and Technical Education for Canton Local Schools from 2000 to 2009. Over the years, Bratten has also served at Cincinnati Moeller High School, Bishop Kenny High School in Jacksonville, Florida, Marlington Local Schools and Louisville City Schools in a variety of positions, including English teacher, coach, Assistant Principal and Athletic Director.
Bratten is a strong advocate for kids, as well as a community leader and has a history as an outstanding educator and administrator.
“We’re going to be here unless it’s too dangerous to be,” Bratten said about snow days. “You know, there are a lot of people we talk to in the mornings. My philosophy is you always take the worst roads, and you drive those, and you base things on those because anyone can drive down Graham and be fine, but if you live on a road that has nothing but curves…and it’s nothing but ice, those are the one’s I’m concerned about.”
Bratten has a sophomore son at Missouri University who is working on a double major in materials engineering and ceramics engineering, as well as a nine year old son who attends Washington Elementary. His wife is a technology teacher in the Alliance school district where she has taught for the past 17 years.
Family time for the Bratten’s usually includes anything to do with athletics
“The nine year old keeps us plenty busy with his sports right now,” Bratten said. “I help coach his baseball team, and he plays basketball as well.”
Bratten also enjoys golfing.
“I love to golf. It is my favorite thing,” Bratten said.
Bratten roots for any teams who come from Ohio. He was raised in Cincinnati, but learned to adopt Cleveland teams when he moved up to Northeast Ohio in 1993.
“It’s a lot of heartbreak being a Cleveland fan,” Bratten jokes.
Bratten said, “I am confident that we will continue to do great things, and I cannot wait to get started. I couldn’t be prouder or happier to be a bulldog.”