Get to Know Jeff Broeker
1. What do you enjoy most about your job?
It is actually two things I weigh equally...I get to work with some of the most dedicated and passionate educators anyone could ever ask for, and watching our students attain goals, dreams and aspirations they once thought was unattainable.
2. Who inspires you?
Watching our Eagle students take on the many challenges that impact their lives and turning this into a more positive resolve ...they inspire me everyday.
3. What was your first job?
My first job in education was at the Stanley G. Falk School in Buffalo, NY. I served as an interventionist in this K-12 program serving students identified with severe emotional/behavioral issues.
4. If you had the opportunity to pursue another career, what would you choose?
Although I could not find a more perfect job than being the Principal of Eagle Academy. I have had several small businesses over the years which have included a painting, landscaping, and tree removal...I enjoy working outside whenever possible.
5. What's an interest or hobby you have that not a lot of people might not know about you?
I really enjoy golfing with my son, Matthew and we have spent many weekends attempting to play some of the most beautiful courses Colorado has to offer. Although I am an amatuer in every sense of the word when it comes to golf it is a special time and interest that we share.
6. What's your favorite item on the school lunch menu?
Believe it or not Eagle does not have a cafeteria and lunch is actually dinner at Eagle. Although many of our students go off campus to fulfill these needs Eagle has a long standing tradition of serving pancakes every Wednesday evening. I am a pancake flipping machine.
7. Do you have any pets?
I had a Dachsund named Zeke but he passed a few years ago. We just took in an 8-month old Australian Shepherd named Murphy...he has brought a lot of fun and energy back to the home.
8. What was your first car?
My first car was a 1973 Plymouth Duster...I am a MOPAR enthusiast and currently drive a Dodge Charger.
9.What advice would you give to a college graduate who is entering the field of teaching?
As is many career choices you need to find that passion for what you do. Being an educator is one of the most rewarding and important jobs a person can have. Look to the experiences you have had as a student and what it was about those teachers that made their classes engaging and exciting to be a part of. Those are the intangibles that you should try to recreate for your students.
10. If you could be any superhero, who would you choose to be?
Oh thats an easy one...Captain America. I am a huge movie buff and his portrayal in recent movies really connected with me because he stands for the greater good.
Eagle Academy in Highlands Ranch isn’t your typical high school. Students needing a different education path or those who don’t fit into traditional high school plans are finding a home at Eagle. First year principal, Jeff Broeker, says the changes he sees students go through is remarkable.
“When people hear 'alternative' [education], they automatically think 'different' and they don’t always think 'different' in a good way. There can be some negative perceptions that without a personal experience can drive a person’s thinking. We have great kids, and they have all come to us for different reasons. Our students all have a story which is so unique about Eagle. When the kids arrive here and share with us some of their experiences you can’t help but to want to cheer for that kid. You get to see this evolution of thinking in their heart and in their soul; how they perceive themselves and their feelings about school. It isn’t magic, but it can feel that way sometimes,” says Broeker.
Eagle Academy prides itself on its small classes, relationships with students and personalized instruction. There are roughly 130 students who attend class from 3:10 – 9:01 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Eagle students are also required to be employed and must be involved in either a vocation training program or volunteer regularly. Broeker says watching his students’ transformation is the best part of his day.
“I often get calls from administrators from other schools where our kids have come from, and they want to check up on the students, see how they are doing. I get to share the success stories, how their attitudes and demeanor has changed for the better, or simply how they are more academic or showing student like behavior – those are great conversations,” Broeker says. “For our kids, it’s really just the opportunity to come in, start fresh and embrace the 'Eagle way.'”
When Broeker took over the helm at Eagle in August he made the decision to learn about Eagles culture and traditions first.
“As a first year principal I try to be purposeful in how I introduce new things. You don’t want to come in and just change things for the sake of change. You need to embrace and understand the things that they are proud of and why they are so important to the fabric of the school. Eagle has been around for 20 years. They have a sense of identity. They have traditions.” said Broeker.
Though getting to know all the ins and outs of Eagle will take more time, Broeker has worked to implement a few changes that have continued to help students and push their educational journeys to the next level.
Over the past year he has worked to hire several new positions, including an additional administrator to help lead the school, an additional mental health counselor, and beginning in the Fall 2017, Eagle will offer electives to its students. Broeker has already lined up teachers to teach music and art full-time at the school.
In addition, new programs have also been introduced at Eagle, including a parent support group and a partnership with local contractors, which have given some of his students better paying jobs in the construction trades. We are always looking for ways to give our students and their families options that can benefit them in some way, and allow student academic time to be more focused.
“On Monday during our meetings, I make it a point to share with our teachers the great things that are going on in their classrooms. Being in my teachers’ classrooms and providing them with consistent feedback is one of the most important responsibilities a principal can bring to a school. I get to see a lot of really engaging instruction. Helping to create an open forum for my teachers where they can share what they are doing in the classroom is a culture I want to foster at Eagle," said Broeker.
Originally from upstate New York, Broeker went to school for business. But after his first semester he knew he belonged in education. He was drawn to working with students with special needs. Over the years he has worked and taught in a variety of settings including both traditional and nontraditional schools. He first came to DCSD in 2011 as the Assistant Principal at ThunderRidge High School before accepting the job at Eagle Academy this year.
“I am in the job I feel like I have been groomed for my entire life,” says Broeker. “I love it here. I absolutely love it here. There isn’t a day that I am not excited about coming to the office and seeing my students experience success."