Brandon Bruce returns to Hart as elementary principal

July 17, 2023

Brandon Bruce returns to Hart as elementary principal

Pirate News is a presentation of Hart Public Schools in partnership with Oceana County Press. 

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor

HART – Brandon Bruce is excited to be back at Hart Public Schools as Spitler Elementary School’s principal.

Bruce, 50, was superintendent of his alma mater in the Upper Peninsula, Gwinn Public Schools, for two years after serving as Hart High School principal from 2018-2021. Troy Moran took the reins at HHS when Bruce accepted the UP superintendent job.

Bruce is taking over the Spitler Elementary School principal position after Andrea Degen accepted a position as the Hart district’s early childhood director.

He and his wife Amy moved into a home in close proximity to the school campus when he first came to Hart in 2018, and they kept the home knowing they wanted to stay here.

“The opportunity Up North opened faster than I anticipated, and I don’t regret it, because it was a great move. But when Mark (Platt, the district superintendent) reached out to me and said, ‘I’ve got something that might work — are you interested?’ I couldn’t pass it up. Because this is where we wanted to end up. Some stars aligned in the right direction for us, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

“Now, I have pretty much administratively done every job in a district besides business manager and food service director,” said the 28-year education veteran. 

Bruce is certified to drive school buses and drove the bus frequently in the UP in his superintendent role. “It was a great experience.”

Bruce, a Central Michigan University alumnus, played football for the Chippewas. The administrator has a strong sports background. “I spent 23 years coaching football, basketball and track.” He’s also been a registered official for many years and taught physical education for 11 years.

The Upper Peninsula native taught at Iron Mountain for a year. In Newberry, and then transitioned from teaching to administration. He served as a part-time teacher, part-time administrator and head football coach.

He began his teaching career in 1996 in Charlevoix, where he taught for four years. He spent the bulk of his administration career in Union City, where he was a middle school principal for 11 years. Both of his sons graduated from Union City High School, which is located in southwest Michigan.

Bruce obtained his bachelor’s degree in education in 1995 and then a master’s degree in administration from CMU.

“I’ve worked in six different school districts throughout my career, and I certainly can’t say that any one group of people that I worked with is better than any other — because they’ve all been different situations. And they’re all just great people. Obviously, you get into education because you have a passion for teaching and working with kids. And everyone I’ve worked with has that. I’ve enjoyed it here — I really liked the time I spent at the high school. It was tough to leave. I thought it was a great move at the time, and I certainly don’t regret making that decision, so leaving was tough. Then the opportunity came up to come back, I didn’t hesitate. It was an easy transition.”

The educator said he really missed interactions with kids during his time as superintendent in the UP. 

“I’m looking forward to this new adventure. This is a great staff of people over here, and obviously they care about kids and love working with kids.” 

He officially began his duties, July 1, at Spitler.

Bruce also feels blessed to have a great community. “This is a solid community that is committed to this school, and the school is the focal point of the community. I’m glad to be back.”

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