Evergreen High School principal Brandon Brekke came to Evergreen via Boise, Albuquerque, Denver, Ohio, Australia and Littleton.
“My dad was a corporate executive, so as he moved up the ladder we relocated a lot,” Brandon explains. “By the time I graduated from Dakota Ridge in Littleton, I had attended two elementary schools and four high schools.”
The moves allowed for a lot of diverse experiences. In northeastern Ohio, the family lived in Amish country, and in Australia, Brandon attended school in a very rural area. “My sister and I were the first Americans our classmates had ever met,” he says. “They assumed that since we were from the United States, we personally knew Madonna and Michael Jordan!”
The culture, lifestyle and especially the ocean had such an impact that Brandon returned to live there again in his early twenties after finishing school and before beginning his professional career. “My parents were living there again at the time, which gave it some added appeal.”
He hadn’t originally intended to enter the field of education. He’d studied international affairs at CU and after graduation, worked in finance. “I was selling retirement products to educators, so I was in schools all the time,” he says. “I enjoyed that environment so much that I decided to go back and get my teaching license, and that’s when I became a history teacher.”
He taught in the Jeffco School System for a few years; and then he and his wife, a history teacher, moved to Costa Rica to teach in an international school. “Our students were the children of international diplomats and business people who, like my own family had done, moved around a lot.” While there, Brandon and his wife also coached the cross country team, which enabled them to travel all over Central America with the kids.
“Teaching abroad, you don’t have all of the conveniences that come with living in the United States, which makes it both a challenging and worthwhile experience. The job didn’t require becoming fluent in any other language, but my street Spanish was pretty good by the time we left. Though nowadays, I doubt I could pass a Spanish One class!” he concedes.
Once back in the United States, Brandon returned to work in the Jeffco school system. He became the assistant principal at Drake Middle School in Arvada, a position he held for two years; and his wife began teaching at South High School. In 2014 when he heard that the assistant principal job at Evergreen High School was available, he applied and was accepted. Just one year later, he moved into the role of EHS principal.
Having attended so many different schools while growing up has given him a broad perspective on the opportunities and challenges that a school—and its principal—encounter. “I’ve seen it done all kinds of ways,” Brandon says. “As an assistant principal, I had specific areas of responsibility; and as principal, I have to make sure the jigsaw all fits together. But in particular, my own background helps me to ensure that Evergreen High School is a welcoming place for the students, particularly the kids who—like myself—come and go.”
And what does he do in his spare time?
“Well,” he grins, “There isn’t a lot of that right now. I attend a lot of school events, of course. I’ll be at basketball games tonight and tomorrow, in fact. And my wife and I are new parents. Our daughter is 17 months old now, so we both stay pretty busy.”
When free time does present itself, Brandon plays soccer on a rec league, rides his motorcycle, and runs. “My passion is music,” he says and then grins. “Hip-hop in particular. Not only do I enjoy it, but it also gives me a way to connect with the kids.”
He’s also something of a Western history buff, harkening back to his days as a teacher – Native American history, in particular.
“And being outside,” he concludes. “We live in such a great place, and I like to take the time to appreciate our surroundings.”