Principal Bronson Curtis Reflects on 1st Year at Greenfield Intermediate School

Principal Bronson Curtis Reflects on 1st Year at Greenfield Intermediate School Main Photo

16 Apr 2024


Personal Connections are KEY to Mr. Curtis’ leadership style and motivation!

Principal Bronson Curtis held his hand out for a high five or fist bump, waiting to see how many sixth graders walking through the hallway of Greenfield Intermediate School would take him up on it.

Nearly every one gave him a friendly nod or hand. But one held out her fist for a bump and when Curtis went to return it, she slyly smiled and pulled away.

“You get me every time!” he laughed, adding that she is one of several students he shares a special connection with.

Identical fourth-grade twins, for example, test his knowledge on which is which by sharing a secret handshake.

Another boy stood in the lunch line with black marker drawn in a curled mustache on his face.

“Did you forget to shave this morning?” Curtis quipped.

“No, I drew it on before I came to school,” the sixth grader replied.

Bronson Curtis is known for relating with the students and staff alike, and he has made quite an impact in his first year as principal at GIS. 

With improvements underway and more to come, Curtis says he’s grateful for the warm, welcoming community and the chance to see his career and family flourish in Greenfield.

“This is my dream job being at Greenfield-Central,” Curtis said. “It’s just something about this school– the group of kids, the parents, the community.”

Curtis came to Greenfield-Central schools in 2022 and served under Devon Marine as assistant principal. He took on the principal role  in 2023 when Marine became elementary curriculum director for G-C.

Superintendent Dr. Harold Olin said Curtis has a great understanding of high-impact teaching in the classroom.

“But more importantly, he establishes a great rapport with students, and he is very approachable to the staff members he leads,” Olin said. “Beyond those coveted traits of a school leader, he is also a fantastic champion for our community.”

A married father of three, Curtis and his family moved to Greenfield shortly after joining the staff at GIS.

Originally from Selma just outside of Muncie, Curtis holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and two masters degrees in educational technology and leadership. He taught in South Carolina and then moved back to the Anderson area to teach and administer.

Serving under Devon Marine as assistant principal last year was beneficial as he was able to see their similar educational values– putting students first, and connecting with the school community. 

He was able to continue some of the traditions that made GIS a great school. He describes this year as principal as amazing.

“The staff at GIS is fantastic,” he said. “They work tirelessly to provide students with a great educational experience. The students give their best effort and the parents are supportive.”

Be sure to bring a pair of walking shoes if you spend any time with Curtis on the job. You’ll rarely find him in his office, but rather walking the halls, chatting at lunch and checking in on classrooms.

His greatest joy this year? The students.

"I enjoy the relationships that I get to build with the students,” he said. “I absolutely love all of the nicknames, hugs and special handshakes. I try to spend as much time as I can with students at lunches, in the hallways and in the classrooms. I love seeing and hearing about students being successful.”

He’ll even occasionally chat with students about the video game Fortnite or popular YouTube videos (first making sure to ask if the conversation is “school-appropriate.”)

“I enjoy the relationships that I get to build with the students,” he said.

Curtis is also ready to help those who are having a bad day. One boy, for example, accidentally dropped a food container in the lunchroom and when asked to pick it up, became defensive and emotional. Curtis met with the student in his office.

“I get it. You feel better now,” Curtis told him. “You’re calm. Let’s go knock this out. We got this.”

The two chatted about baseball and walked back to the lunch room together. Curtis watched as the boy picked up the milk carton.

“If I’d come as a disciplinarian, it wouldn’t have worked,” Curtis explained afterward. “He would have cut out more.”

Instead, Curtis likes to focus on rewarding positive behavior. Tickets are given to students who demonstrate Cougar leadership skills, and drawings for prizes are awarded frequently in the cafeteria.

With staff, Curtis has started Friday Boosts each week to support teachers. He’s encouraged staff members who have “quiet strength” to take more leadership positions. He fosters creativity and collaboration during staff meetings, and he reads positive shout-outs from parents.

Curtis likes to focus on rewarding positive behavior.

“Parents fill out a form and recognize the teachers,” he said. “I get so excited to read these to staff members.”

Academically, Curtis has emphasized writing this year. Art, STEM, gym and music teachers are now using writing in their classes, from captioning pictures to explaining the steps of a scientific process.

“My favorite part is that I  know it’s working,” he said. “One day while picking up my youngest son from daycare, I saw two GIS students huddled over something. I walked over to say hello to them, and I noticed that they were frantically working on a letter. When I asked them what they were doing, one student explained that he was helping his friend draft a letter to his mom. In the letter they were working on giving his mom reasons why his friend should be able to spend the night during a school night, and supporting their claim with evidence. That brought a huge smile to my face.”

Curtis is looking forward to the 2024-2025 school year to meet a new group of fourth graders and see next year’s sixth graders be able to participate in new sports opportunities. GIS is also starting several new clubs for students. 

He will miss this year’s group of sixth graders, though. Now that it’s the final weeks of the school year, they’re starting to talk about what life will be like at the junior high – conversations Bronson has held off on until now.

“I want to keep them elementary for as long as possible,” he said. “They want to grow up so fast, but I know as a parent, I don’t want them to grow up that quick.”

He’s grateful to be sticking at the Intermediate age level. Grades fourth through sixth is his favorite age range, because they’re starting to be aware of personal freedom and independence.

“Watching them grow from quiet fourth graders that still want to be silly to sixth graders that also want to be silly – as long as no one else is watching them – is so fun.”

By Maribeth Vaughn