Midway Principal to Head to Southwood; Kelley will Lead Midway
Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 3:52PM

Four new appointments aimed at organizing the new Southwood Academy of the Arts were approved Tuesday night by the District Five Board of Trustees.

BruhjellGary Bruhjell was named Principal of Southwood Academy of the Arts, and Rick Mascaro was named Director of Secondary Visual and Performing Arts for the new magnet school, which will open in August 2011.

Mr. Bruhjell has served as Principal of Midway Elementary since it opened in August 2003. He formerly served as Principal of La France Elementary School in Anderson School District Four.

Mr. Mascaro has served as director of the Anderson V Career Campus (formerly the MascaroHanna-Westside Extension Campus) since 2000. During that time he participated in arts activities in the district and created the Mosaic Theatre at the Career Campus. Mr. Mascaro’s duties will include teaching, recruiting, and directing theater productions at Southwood Academy, as well as overseeing the entire visual and performing arts program in District Five.

KelleySucceeding Mr. Bruhjell as Principal of Midway is Brenda Kelley.  Mrs. Kelley began teaching at Midway when it opened in August 2003 and has served as Assistant Principal since August 2007.

Succeeding Mr. Mascaro as Director of the Career Campus is Cathy Shaw. Mrs. Shaw has served as Assistant Director at the Career Campus since 2000.

Transition to these new positions will begin immediately. Mr. Bruhjell and Mr. Mascaro will provide mentoring and other assistance to their successors as they begin planning the opening of Southwood Academy for the 2011-2012 school year.

Southwood Academy of the Arts will be a magnet school for students in grades six through twelve with an Shawemphasis in grades six through eight on academics within an arts-based curriculum, extending the model begun by Calhoun Academy of the Arts. The secondary grades will receive performance-based instruction, beginning next year with selected secondary courses, including accelerated classes in visual arts, drama music and dance.

The district plans to add a seventh grade level in the second year of operation and an eighth grade level in the third year. The number of secondary arts courses and other related courses will also expand over time.

District Five will hold a Magnet School Fair on Thursday, February 24th in the mall area of T.L. Hanna High School. Admissions criteria and applications for Southwood will be available at the Fair, and online beginning February 25th.

Here is the announcemen note from Bruhjell.

January 27, 2011 

Dear Parents,

At the first sermon of the New Year, my pastor, Dr. Dennis Tedder, told a story about the great scientist, Dr. Albert Einstein.  Excited about taking a trip, Dr. Einstein boarded a train, chose a seat, and went straight to work opening his briefcase and spreading his papers, books and journals all around him.  When the conductor arrived at his car, Dr. Einstein frantically rummaged through his papers and paraphernalia to locate his ticket.  It was nowhere to be found.  The conductor quickly, and almost apologetically, said, “Don’t worry about it Dr. Einstein, everyone knows who you are – don’t worry.”  The conductor continued through the boxcar punching tickets only to notice Dr. Einstein now on his hands and knees looking under his seat and in the greasy nooks and crannies that bolted the metal bench to the floorboards.  Once again, the conductor reiterated, “Dr. Einstein, please don’t concern yourself with finding the ticket; we know who you are.”  Dr. Einstein looked up from his precarious position with a worried wrinkle to his brow and replied, “It’s not that I don’t know who I am; I need my ticket to remember where I’m going!”  

Dr. Tedder used this account to illustrate the importance of taking risks, setting out on new journeys, and having faith that what God’s hand has set in motion will most certainly be done to glorify His name.  I say all this to let you know that I find myself at a crossroads in my career and ready to take on a new challenge.  I have been blessed to be asked by our school board and superintendent to open Southwood Academy of the Arts in the 2011-2012 school year.  Southwood Academy of the Arts will serve our community as a pure magnet school, emphasizing advanced academics using the arts as a vehicle for achieving educational excellence.  By creating a small, nurturing, student and family-centered middle school experience, Anderson School District Five will be fulfilling a need for many children who will thrive in this unique environment.  It is thrilling to be a part of this movement of choice and change in such a progressive school system.

I will continue to serve as principal here through the remainder of this year with all of my heart, passion, and love for the children of Midway.  However, our assistant principal, Mrs. Brenda Kelley, will become the new principal of Midway Elementary School of Science and Engineering beginning in the 2011-2012 school year.  Mrs. Kelley is one of the finest and most competent, caring administrators I have ever worked with and I am thrilled that she will continue to build upon the tradition of excellence here at Midway.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”  Right now, that is exactly how I’m feeling.  But ... just think how exciting it will be to actually have a hand in building the staircase!


Gary Bruhjell


Midway Elementary School of Science and Engineering      

Article originally appeared on The Anderson Observer (http://andersonobserver.com/).
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