Over the course of 34 years, Brad Board found himself doing what he loved to do in the place he loved to do it most of all.
"There was never a time that I didn't feel fortunate to be part of what I considered to be as fine of a school district as there is anywhere," says Board of his career that spanned from 1970 to 2004 in the Minnetonka School District.
"There has always been a goal in the Minnetonka Schools, a striving toward excellence and a purpose to reach all students and meet their needs. The quality of the people who work in the schools, from the top of the leadership on down, is incredible. To top it off, the District has the backing of a community that steps up whenever possible to make the school district the best it can be," says Board.
For those reasons, Board says he looks back on his career as a teacher, athletic director and principal and realizes that he "would never have wanted to do anything else or have worked anywhere else."
A 1966 graduate of Minnetonka High School, Board landed his first job out of Augsburg College as a sixth grade teacher at Scenic Heights Elementary. Twelve years later, when reductions in state revenues forced the district to cut numerous teaching jobs, including his, Board was hired as the athletic director at MHS.
For several years during his early career, Board had been working on his masters and doctorate in school administration, and in 1985 he was named the principal at Deephaven Elementary, where he led the school until 1999.
During his tenure, the school's enrollment grew from about 280 students to 750, and Board and the staff achieved their goal of making the school an even more integral part of the community; a big increase parental involvement was a testament to reaching this goal.
As a reflection of what it became, Deephaven was named a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education in 1991. Being one of the rare selections provided the school and staff with feedback about its strengths and areas in which it could do even better.
"I think we became an even better school," Board says.
As the school continued to improve, Board made sure to never stop improving himself professionally. In 1998, he was awarded a Milken Educator Award, which honors top teachers and educators around the country. He also served as president of the Minnesota State Principal's Association and was heavily involved in Sci-MathMN, a program that looks at ways in which math, science and technology teachers can improve their craft and subsequently raise the state's educational achievements.
While Board refers to several people he has worked with over the years as his mentors, Curt Carpenter, the principal at Clear Springs Elementary, calls Board his.
"Brad helped me become a better teacher, a better person, a better father, and eventually a principal who learned so much from him," says Carpenter, who was a teacher at Deephaven when Board was principal. "He encouraged me to take some risks and not be so worried about being such a perfectionist. That was one of his best skills and one of the reasons why so many considered him to be a mentor: he had an ability to encourage people to be their personal best."
Only for a couple of years in the late 1990s did Board find himself working away from the Minnetonka School District. That stint, co-starting a charter school in St. Paul, renewed his vigor for a return to the district in 2000, where he spent four years as principal at Minnewashta Elementary before retiring.
"As a principal, I always felt one of my main objectives was to be the keeper of the common goal and the vision for a school," Board notes. "I thought a big part of that was to do my best to get to know the teachers and help them realize their strengths so that they could have as much success as possible in the classroom."
Now living in the Seattle area with his wife, Leanne, Board remains heavily involved in education. Not only is he coaching a high school tennis team, but he also works with the Pacific Institute Education Initiative coaching coaches, teachers, teams, organizations, athletes and other individuals how to find and achieve their dreams on the field, in the classroom or any area of life.
"My wife says I'm flunking retirement," Board says with a laugh. "And I guess she's right. But education is the career I love and is what I want to be involved with as long as I possibly can."