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By Ashley Parkinson
The Record-Times 

Bruce named next Odessa superintendent


Last updated 4/14/2022 at 12:48pm

ODESSA – The school board approved new superintendent John Bruce's contract at the board's March 23 meeting, finalizing a deal for the district's new leader who comes to town from Alaska.

He comes to Odessa from Pribilof School District in Western (Bush) Alaska, where he is leaving as superintendent, K-12 principal and technology director/assessment coordinator.

Bruce said he is ready to be back in the lower 48 states.

"I grew up in a small Minnesota farming community of about 1300 that no longer can support a school system. It closed when I was in 10th grade," Bruce said. "In looking at Odessa and Eastern Washington, it meant a lot to me to be able to work in an educational system that was a reflection of what I grew up in."

Bruce grew up in Winnebago, Minnesota and received his diploma from Blue Earth Area High School.

He has two sons. His oldest son is a sophomore at the University of Minnesota majoring in chemical engineering.

Bruce's youngest son is in sixth grade. His wife is transitioning into a position with the Postal Service.

His educational accomplishments include a Master of Education for grades 7-12 Administration from Williams Woods University. He has a Bachelor's of Science degree in teaching from Minnesota State University.

Bruce holds a superintendent and principal's certificate in Washington State.

The school year 2022-2023 will be Bruce's 25th year in education. Bruce has a background of teaching fifth to twelfth graders social studies/language arts and has coaching experience in basketball, softball, baseball and track.

Some of Bruce's interests include Minnesota Vikings football, team sports, traveling, culture activities and technology-related endeavors.

Odessa's small town charm is what attracted Bruce to the area.

"Being respectful, being humble, having high expectations and the work ethic to back it up. That means something to me," Bruce said. "Students will always try to rise to the level of expectation of them."

He spoke highly of the teaching environment offered in Odessa.

"Students want to do well, with strong educators leading them," Bruce said.

Sports is what came to mind when asked what he was looking forward to most in Odessa.

"We do not have athletics here - we are down to 53 students K-12 and being 800 miles west of Anchorage in the Bering Sea is cost prohibitive," Bruce said. "I am looking forward to being a part of the community and supporting Odessa Tigers Academic/Arts/Athletics programs."

He will be in Odessa around June 20. Bruce's part-time superintendent contract is effective July 1.


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