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Students are what matters to new WRHS assistant principal

Winnisquam Regional High School’s new assistant principal, Andrew Brauch, comes to the district with plenty of education, experience, and most of all, the skills and enthusiasm needed to work with students as they strive to succeed in both school and life. (Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
August 10, 2011
TILTON — Student disciplinary measures are a large part of the job description for an assistant principal, and for Andrew Brauch, who recently took over the job at Winnisquam Regional High School, they require a different approach.

Brauch believes that the best solution is often simply interacting with a student so underlying causes may be discovered, and thereby help the individual more.

By getting to know the students, he said, administrators, teachers and staff can provide the best opportunities to educate each child at their highest level and help them make good choices in their lives.

"If you look at attendance records, some of the most difficult kids are in school every day. There's a reason for that. I think kids are often misunderstood, and there is no such thing as a bad kid," Brauch said.

He himself has been a student for many years, coming to WRHS with a degree in sociology and a minor in business administration from the University of New Hampshire. From there, Brauch went on to earn a Master's degree in physical education through studies at Keene State College and Plymouth State University. After teaching physical education at Mount Prospect Academy for one year, Brauch decided to then return to school once more, where he received another degree in special education. During that time, he was also Plymouth State University's head coach for men's lacrosse for five years.

Brauch received his certification for a principal's position last year, and recently completed his Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies.

With all of these achievements already on his resume, it may come as a surprise to some to learn this multi-tasking, well-educated educator is only in his mid-30's.

All that said, this industrious new administrator has now spent his summer preparing for the new school year, which begins at the end of the month.

"I'm really looking forward to meeting the students and getting to know the staff and faculty here, too," he said.

Brauch comes to WRHS from Belmont High School, where he was the Special Education Case Manager and Coordinator of Classroom Discipline.

He worked at BHS for four gratifying years, he said, helping resolve conflicts and student issues as he worked to assist them in managing both the stressors in their lives and their own behavioral reactions.

"Students are usually punished for what they've done without any component of intervention. There's a huge need for systemic change to help kids manage these factors in their lives, which can affect how they act and how they learn at times," Brauch said.

It's not always about who was wrong or who was right, he added. Sometimes, it's more about what to do better the next time to avoid that situation.

Brauch said his goal at WRHS is to get to know students and focus on their needs. Schools can be very focused on test results, he acknowledged, but he is also concerned about what is going on with the students themselves, which in the end can affect test scores.

"It's just like in sports. If you want to win, you have to see what's working and what's not, then address that with more skills training or whatever it is. The same thing goes on in the classrooms. When you meet their needs and address the issues, the scores go up," he said.

Brauch believes teachers have the hardest job there is in today's world, being asked to now do a lot more than teach. Besides educating students, teachers often find themselves in the role of part time parent and mentor as well. All of these charges must be handled within proper guidelines and boundaries. Not an easy task, he said.

"There are some great teachers here at Winnisquam. While it's a challenge to work within any organization where people have may have a lot of different ideas, with shared ideas and goals we can do good things and I'm really looking forward to that," Brauch said.

When school begins on Aug. 29, the new administrator will be there to greet students, and said he will maintain an open door policy throughout the year for any student who needs his assistance. He looks forward to listening, learning about them and doing what he can to help in any way possible. Brauch acknowledged everyone has bad days and sometimes a student might simply need someone to talk things over with in order to get on with the rest of the day in a productive manner. He added not everyone learns at the same pace, nor does every student come to high school with the same set of skills, and sometimes that can lead to issues. Besides any necessary discipline, he feels it is the underlying problem that also needs to be recognized and addressed to prevent future problems and bolster the learning process.

"I'm very student focused, which is really why all of us work in schools. So above everything else, we have to now show kids that, no matter what, we're here for them," said Brauch.

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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