• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

WCMS Principal Bruno leaves post for Fayette County job, Kirk named 2020-21 interim


Woodford County Middle School Principal Tracy Bruno has left the district to become chief of middle schools for Fayette County Public Schools. Bruno said he’s very proud of what was accomplished under his leadership at WCMS, which went from being the lowest to the highest performing school in the district. He views his new role in Fayette County as an opportunity to share what he’s learned as a principal at WCMS and Isaac Litton Middle School in Nashville with 12 other middle schools. Assistant Principal Liz Kirk will serve as interim principal at WCMS for the 2020-21 school year, schools Superintendent Scott Hawkins said. She’s excited about the opportunity. “Every day’s a different day in the middle school,” said Kirk. “… You never know what kids are going to do or say. I love their quirkiness, their uniqueness – trying to figure out who they are.” Bruno hired Kirk as an assistant principal at WCMS when he came to the school in 2015, so she’s very familiar with the school’s systems and structures, and knows the students, teachers, and a lot of the families, Hawkins said. “She and I have worked really well together over the last five years,” said Bruno of Kirk. He said she knows how to build relationships with students – those who never get in trouble and those sent to the office on a regular basis – and families. “I think she’s ready to be a principal and I think she’s going to do a wonderful job,” Bruno said. Kirk, who lives in Versailles with husband Adam and their family, said Bruno taught her the importance of showing up for kids and families – both in school and out “so that they know you care beyond the classroom.” Hawkins said the WCMS site-based council chose to go with an interim because they did not want to begin a principal search so close to the start of school. “And they were very supportive of Ms. Kirk being in the interim position,” he said. Kirk, the administrative dean at Huntertown Elementary School for four years before joining Bruno at WCMS, said she was honored and humble by the confidence shown in her. “They know I will put the best interests of the students and the staff first here at the middle school,” said Kirk. “I love the middle school. “My background is elementary, but ever since I’ve been here it is my home. And to be honest, it’s a dream job for me. I always say, ‘If you do something you love, it never feels like a job.’ And when I come to work here, I don’t feel like it’s a job … It’s just something I do and I love. And I love the kids and the staff and the community here.” With the administrative team she’s assembled – Susan Tracy will return as an assistant principal and also serve as athletic director, while Joe Albert joins them from Fayette County as dean of students and WCMS teacher Jody Powell becoming interim assistant principal – Kirk said she’s confident WCMS will continue making growth as a school. And she said she’d like to continue her “dream job” beyond the 2020-21 school year. “My family lives in Woodford. My kids go to Woodford. And it would just be a great place for me to stay for awhile,” said Kirk, a mother of two, seventh-grader Ava and ninth-grader Conner. “… I would love to be here and continue the great things that we have started here at Woodford Middle.” Hawkins credited Bruno for doing a fantastic job at WCMS during his five-year tenure. He said a transformation took place at WCMS under his leadership. His administrative team regularly visited classrooms to support teachers who were encouraged to share what they were doing in their classrooms with colleagues, he added. Bruno said he was proud of the academic and school culture he helped cultivate as a principal. In his view, being ready for anything and maintaining a sense of humor are important traits for a middle school principal. “Knowing when to be serious and knowing when to be silly (lead to success in middle school),” said Bruno. “I know that sounds insane, but you’re that transition between elementary and high (school).” He said success comes from supporting a culture with great relationships between adults and students, and he’s going to miss being a part of a community where people embrace the family atmosphere at WCMS.

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