FHS hires a new assistant principal, Zachary Bradley


Bree Soule, Online Editor in Chief

Before the 2020-2021 school year began, Fenton High hired a new assistant principal, Zachary Bradley. The position was up for grabs after former assistant principal Laura Lemke replaced Mark Suchowski as principal at FHS.

“I love the team that I’m on,” Bradley said. “I work with great people here and I feel like that dynamic has been a pretty smooth and easy transition but some of the processing, like paperwork, that’s all new as well.”

Before working at FHS, Bradley worked at Grand Blanc High School for eight years, spending seven of those years as a teacher before switching to a student advisor role. During those eight years, he taught World History and AP U.S. History.

“I remember getting to a point in my teaching career where I loved working with kids and being in front of a classroom, but I also wanted to see changes made overall to the institution,” Bradley said. “I felt like I could be the voice to stir the pot a little bit with some of the change. The leader role is one I think I could thrive in and work through. In education, it’s great serving people and working with people in general, whether it be the team that you’re on or the people that you’re serving alongside, that is beyond rewarding.”

In a group dynamic, Bradley would find himself emerging in leadership roles naturally.

“Even in teaching, the department would lean on me heavily when it would come to bringing new matters or innovative ideas within the classroom to others,” Bradley said.

What Bradley enjoys the most about working at FHS is the “close-knit community feel” he said it has.

“I don’t want to use the term small town. Fenton isn’t really all that small, but it has a small town feel,” Bradley said. “Having that close-knit humble feel in Fenton really does feel that way. I’ve only technically been here for two months and I feel like I’ve had businesses reach out to me wanting to get to know me, I’ve had families emailing me welcome letters, students wanting to know more about me. It has just really felt like that close-knitness that brings everybody together which I think speaks volumes to the community and to the school because it seems like the school is such a central hub and such an intrical part of the community.”

With the unique start of the school year, the transition to working at a new school has come with a few unprecedented situations.

“I’m technically going to have two first-years as a first-year administrator,” Bradley said. “I’m going to have the remote year and how the uniqueness of the start has been, and going back to the so-called normal is going to be a whole new year for me. The stuff you’re bummed about not planning and missing out on is the same stuff that I am. Homecoming; I want to see that football field packed. I want to see whatever pep assemblies or whatever the traditions are. I’m missing out on that just like you guys are and I think that that’s going to be a big adjustment for me as an administrator.”

Although he is now FHS’s new assistant principal, Bradley didn’t always want to go into education.

“Not in a million years would I ever have thought as a high schooler that I would end up in education,” Bradley said. “I was not a big fan of high school.”

Growing up, Bradley lived in the small town of Elk Rapids and his father was one of the town’s police officers. 

“I hated everything about my high school experience because my old man was kind of a central figure. I got blamed for a lot as a high-schooler, like ‘your dad gave me a ticket’ or ‘he arrested me.’ I hated the connection to that in a small town. So I left Elk Rapids and I ended up going to Grand Valley and doing a lot of coaching and active work with kids through hockey. Then I kind of realized I love working with kids and it dawned on me that if I love working with kids, I would probably end up in the same place that I hated, going back into education.”

Bradley went from Grand Valley University to Michigan State University (MSU), going through MSU’s College of Education. He then began his career in the education field.

“I wanted nothing to do with high school, that was the 17 or 18-year-old version of me,” Bradley said. “As you go through different stages, in different experiences of life, it dawns on you what you really value. I think it’s sometimes good for our young people to hear that and think about it because while I want high school to be the experience of your lifetime, there’s also experiences that you guys should look forward to.”

As the school year goes on, Bradley is excited to meet more students and learn the traditions at FHS.