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Former assistant principal, AD takes over at Negaunee High School

Andrew Brunette

NEGAUNEE — Andrew Brunette has been principal at Negaunee High School since the summer, but already had the experience in the school district to make the transition less difficult than it could have been.

Andrew was an assistant principal and athletic director at the high school for eight years before taking the helm at the beginning of July.

“It’s been good,” Brunette said. “The days are busy, but it’s fortunate that I had the opportunity to work here for the last eight years and know a lot of our processes and procedures and things like that.

“The one thing that I’ve told people who have asked me over the last several months how things were going, my standard answer in many cases, or most cases, has been ‘our staff.’ We have a very good staff here.”

He believes teachers are in their “prime” experience-wise.

“We don’t have a lot of new teachers and we don’t have a lot of teachers who are really at the end of their careers either, to where maybe they’re feeling burned out or whatever,” Brunette said. “We just got a really good group of experienced, hard-working, caring people that have made my job a lot easier to start out with.”

As with just about any school district, there are strengths and challenges.

“One of the main strengths that our school has, again, it goes back to our staff, and goes back to our philosophy of relationship-building with the kids,” Brunette said, “because really, it’s like the old adage where you could be the world’s smartest person in mathematics, but if you don’t have the ability to relate and know that your kids don’t know that you care and those things, it’s not going to matter.”

Brunette called it “capturing their hearts and capturing their minds.”

He believes another strength is a nurturing community.

“Parents are willing to help and volunteer wherever, whenever we need it,” Brunette said. “Our community is very supportive if we have needs in terms of equipment or whatever it might be.”

He said challenges facing Negaunee High School are similar to those facing any other high school.

“Teenagers, sometimes, can be challenging,” Brunette said. “It’s a turbulent time oftentimes. There’s a lot of things going on. You’re trying to discover what you’re going to do and what you’re going to be and how to get there. Those challenges really are the same.”

He acknowledged sometimes parents will call and ask to transfer their student.

“We’ll say, ‘Well, I think we do have a good school but keep in mind, if your student was doing x, y and z at the former school and running into issues, if they still do x, y and z here, they’re probably going to have the same issues,” Brunette said.

Dan Skewis, Negaunee Public Schools superintendent, said that when Mark Marana announced his retirement as principal effective at the end of last school year, there was no doubt in his or the school board’s minds that Brunette was the right person to fill these shoes.

“Mr. Brunette had the opportunity to work with Mr. Marana for several years and built an understanding of what was involved in order to be effective as the NHS principal,” Skewis said in an email. “Andrew changed positions on July 1, and the transition has been seamless. His work ethic and the pride he takes in our high school will allow him to be successful in this position for several years to come.”

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.