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Friday, December 22, 2017

New Fort Thomas Assistant Superintendent, Bradford, Makes an Impact

By Grace DeGregorio

Recently in Lexington KY, the Transylvania University Athletics Department inducted five stellar athletes into its 2017 Pioneer Hall of Fame class.  Among them was Bill Bradford, who attended the school with a diving scholarship and competed as a diver for its swimming and diving team for four seasons.  He qualified for two NAIA National Championships (1999, 2001), finishing in 1999 as the national runner-up in the 1-meter diving event. Bill went undefeated in conference championship meets.

Bill Bradford accepting his award at the Hall of Fame ceremony.
“I had a great opportunity and enjoyed awesome achievements I’m proud of,” says Bill who, after graduation, was recruited to be the diving coach at Transylvania from 2003-2009.

“Each of [the] five inductees has held an impactful relationship with Transylvania University since the first time they stepped onto our campuses,” observed Dr. Holly Sheilley, Vice President for Enrollment and Student Life.  According to Bill, now a resident of Cincinnati’s Oakley neighborhood, his experience at Transylvania is one of three that have significantly impacted his life.
A second occurred when, in 2017, a seven-member committee unanimously selected Bill to become assistant superintendent for teaching and learning for the Fort Thomas Independent Schools.  It was a fitting step in a career path on which Bill has flourished.

He began his career in education as a Spanish teacher at Layfayette High School in Lexington.  “I then worked as an instructional support  specialist, supporting the principal and teachers at middle school level.”

With this solid background, and having earned his masters at Georgetown in Lexington (“a great education program!”) and a second masters (a Rank 1 in Instructional Leadership) at Eastern Kentucky University, Bill “felt ready to assume a principal’s responsibility.  At that same time many of my friends were in medical school and moving onto their residencies, so I thought it was time for me to move on, too.

Bill with the Hall of Fame induction plaque he received from his alma mater, Transylvania University.
“I researched Covington schools and felt it was a great district with great students.  I interviewed and was offered a job.”  He became principal at Sixth District Elementary School, then served as assistant superintendent for learning support at Covington Independent Schools.  “Each year I grew to love the area more and more and got involved in regional education.” This career phase spanned 7½ years before assuming his current position at Fort Thomas Independent Schools this past July.

“I’ll be handling assessment management, curriculum, instruction and school leadership, supporting principals and their assistants,” explains Bill.  “I feel I have a good perspective, having held similar positions in my career.”

Among his responsibilities is involvement in several big projects.  “The state is migrating to a new assessment structure.  There’s a need to prepare people and accelerate programs already in place.  We’re taking on redeveloping the curriculum to create uniformity between the schools and providing adequate access to materials.”

Bill came on board at Fort Thomas at the same time as new superintendent Karen Cheser and Jamee Flaherty, assistant superintendent for student services.  “There is a team approach with my two colleagues,” he explains.  “There are five schools - a high school, a middle school and three elementary schools - serving about 3300 students.  Fort Thomas has a great reputation - when homes are on sale, they go quickly! And local businesses engage with the schools.”

Bill, who says he always loved teaching, enjoys co-teaching a dual credit course at the high school, in conjunction with Thomas More College, with Karen Cheser and Jamee Flaherty.  “I’m also an adjunct professor at Northern Kentucky University, teaching a principal preparatory class.  It’s a chance to teach and influence future principals.”

Since coming to this area, Bill says he’s lived in several locations but,  “I always seemed to be in the Hyde Park area for shopping and other activities, so I thought, ‘Why not live there?’.”  Three years ago he moved to Oakley. “I love it!  It’s convenient for walking and running, there’s a nice connected environment and it’s a diverse area.”

Bill is active in several sports and fitness programs in the community.  “I play tennis for Eastern Hills in men’s single matches on Sundays and doubles matches on weekends.  In the off-season I play in spring leagues.  I’ve gotten to know the city, traveling to different areas and meeting people.”

He also is a regular at Orangetheory Fitness Workout Studio.  “I’ve been there a year working on weight and resistance training, on the treadmill and in water resistant rowing. The ‘orange’ concept refers to aerobic exercises - the highest level of heart rate attained is considered the orange area.”

Bill is especially enjoying these activities because he now can.  A few years ago he began a personal odyssey ending with the third significant impact to his life: a 245 pound weight loss.

“It’s been life changing.  People look at my before and after photos and don’t believe it’s the same person.”  In recognition of his accomplishment, Bill was selected this past summer to be highlighted as a member by Orangetheory Fitness.

Between his new job, teaching and an active personal life, one would think Bill Bradford was busy enough.  But one additional major activity helps fill his days.

“I’m working on my doctorate at NKU.  I’ve completed all my course work and now am in the dissertation phase.”  His topic is The Impact of Classroom Environment Effect on Student Learning.
It’s really no surprise Bill’s schedule is bustling - but rewarding.  Even while a diver at Transylvania he enjoyed not just the sport but the opportunities participation afforded him.

“When I was on the team, there were many chances to travel.  It was a great experience beyond the school.  Between semesters, for example, we went yearly to Boca Raton, FL for 1½ to two weeks at a time to train.  And we went to all kinds of campuses for competitions.  In my junior year Nationals were held in Canada.”

With the richness of his experiences, his humble appreciation for what he has worked to achieve and the commitment he shows in all his endeavors, Bill Bradford is making an impact on the many lives he touches.

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