Slicer graduate Ben Braden spent time out of Indiana, but he is back in town for his first year as an assistant principal at Handley Elementary School.
Braden graduated high school in 2001 at LPHS, after attending Ball State University and receiving his Bachelor’s of Science in Elementary Education.
After graduating from Ball State University in May in ‘05, he moved out to Savannah, Georgia, where he taught third grade. During his time as a educator, Braden fell in love with teaching and having the ability to educate students.
Braden met and married his wife in Savannah and shortly after, they decided to move to Dallas, Texas. Braden decided to hit the books again, but this time, working towards his Master’s of Education in Educational Leadership from Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
After earning his second degree in education, Braden moved to Plano, Texas. He spent seven years there as an administrator.
In the meantime, Braden had a daughter, and he realized how much he was beginning to miss his family in Indiana. He also noticed how many people that are making a difference in La Porte, and he wanted to come home and be a part of that.
Being back in the small town of La Porte, Indiana, has been nothing short but amazing for Braden. He now has the ability to see things differently than when he lived here last as a child.
“What I notice as an adult and educator in this community are the issues, but more importantly, I notice really good and socially minded people and groups of people working hard to make the necessary changes to allow LaPorte to be leader in the region and beyond,” Braden said. “I just want to be a part of that.”
Now that Braden is back in La Porte, he has spent his first year back as an assistant principal at Handley Elementary School.
“It’s always difficult transitioning from one job to another, one school corporation to another, or one state to another. I’ve done all of that, and it’s been a really rewarding experience so far,” Braden said. “I absolutely love my job.”
Right off the bat, Braden has found a way to be a bright light for students and staff, especially by being visible in the hallways.
He has two offices: one in the actual office setting, and his second one is a portable desk that gives him the ability to move around and interact with students while still doing his work on his laptop. The portable desk idea all started when he visited The Momentous Institute, and he noticed that an administrator was standing at a desk on wheels in the hallway. At first he was confused, but he ended up figuring out the goal behind the portable desk.
“He [the administrator who used a portable desk] thought his time was better spent out in the hallway greeting students, talking to teachers, being available if anybody needed him,” Braden said. “I couldn’t agree with that sentiment more, so I’ve used one ever since.”
Braden loves being with the kids as much as he can, and the portable desk makes that goal possible.
“I understand the need to have an office with a door and, don’t get me wrong, I use it often as well,” Braden said. “BUT, if I’m reading and responding to emails, or anything else on the computer, why not do it where the kids are?”
It’s clear that Braden loves his job, not only for the position as an assistant principal, but because of all of the wonderful people–the staff and students–who he works with everyday.
Outside of Handley, Braden spends a chunk of his life reading. He also enjoys playing golf during the warm months of the year.
Braden hopes that one day he can look back on his life and know that he made an impact on the town he grew up in. It’s clear that he is on his way.