The High Point Schools Partnership had the privilege of sitting down and talking with Bennie Bradley, the new principal of Oak View Elementary School. Bradley graduated from the Nurnberg American High School, a Department of Defense school, before attending the University of South Carolina. It was here that he obtained his undergraduate degree in Marketing and Management. Bradley came to the Greensboro area after an advisor at his alma mater encouraged him to move there. Once in the area, he worked at Staples as a traveling sales and operations manager.
Bradley ended up in a stationary position at Staples located in High Point. The managers at this branch were involved with a program called Reading is Fundamental. It was this program that first brought Bradley into schools when he was paired with Fairview Elementary to read with students. From here, he was encouraged to pursue a career in education. He was brought in as a long-term substitute teacher to Fairview before being recruited by Otis L. Hairston Sr. Middle School where he was a business teacher for 8 years. Bradley then went on to teach at Ben L. Smith High School for one year. In this year he was also their Teacher of the Year. It was the principal at Smith that encouraged Bradley to become a principal.
Starting at the Piedmont Triad Leadership Academy, Bradley was an admin intern for a year at Cone Elementary. After a job became available at Southwest Middle School he became an Assistant Principal there for 5 years before becoming the principal at Guilford Preparatory Academy. During this time, Bradley also served as the head coach for the High Point Blaze Track Club (an AAU youth track and field organization) for 11 years. Through this team, students gained scholarships for higher education as well as trained for the Junior Olympics.
Bradley came into his principalship with the mission of asking “what can we do to serve our community?” It was this question that led him to form a partnership with Oak View Baptist Church. Recently Bradley was joined by Oak View Elementary staff and their families to the church to help make Samaritan Packages and collect shampoo bottles for a women prisoners group. Bradley is eager to continue nurturing this mutual partnership.
Oak View Elementary is also proud of its Pre-K program. They have both Exceptional Children (EC) and general education classrooms. Bradley had the opportunity to visit a classroom the other week where the students were making lemonade as a part of their science unit. The teachers in their preschool classrooms come up with creative ways to engage their students in the learning material. These activities include inviting the High Point Fire Department during Fire Safety Month and painting pumpkins during the fall. There is a focus on creative play throughout the year to involve students in a number of productive skills.
The final program that Bradley wanted to highlight was a student club focused on the “Battle of the Books” activity led by Ramon Martinez (Oak View’s Media Specialist). Students in elementary and middle school get to focus on the books that they are required to read for this competition; they must be prepared to answer questions regarding this text. Bradley is so excited for this opportunity to extend students’ learning that he pledged to read all of the books the students read.
Thank you Bennie for sitting down and talking with us. We look forward to continuing to talk with and highlight different High Point principals and all the good going on at their school.