Brian Brosnahan will be bringing both his sense of humor and his willingness to learn to school this year as he assumes the dual roles of school superintendent and school principal at Rutland.
Brosnahan acknowledged he will have to fill big shoes in assuming both roles, and then quipped, "And I already wear big enough shoes as it is."
Brosnahan joined the Rutland School District in 2017 when he was hired by former superintendent Peter Books to serve as principal. In approaching the school board about assuming both roles, he said he considered both the school's financial situation and whether the staff would support him in this.
"My team is nothing short of amazing," Brosnahan said, noting that he believes he can continue to lead effectively while learning the superintendent's responsibilities.
Brosnahan grew up in Trimont, Minn., a small town in southern Minnesota, and graduated from Martin County West Senior High in Sherburn, Minn. He earned a degree in biology from South Dakota State University before moving to Minneapolis with Jennifer, who is now his wife. At the time, she was working on a master's degree at the University of Minnesota.
"I'm a little bit of an unconventional educator," he said.
Brosnahan didn't enter the career field until they moved to Florida so that his wife could work for an independent research company engaged in food and nutrition research. While in Minneapolis, he worked in sales, which he learned was not his calling.
Brosnahan had planned to be a stay-at-home dad while picking up the credentials to enter the field of education. However, the teacher shortage in Florida enabled him to teach while earning his teacher certification by working with a mentor.
"I loved it, just loved it," he said of his time at Haines City High School, one of the schools in the Polk County School District. There he taught honors anatomy and honors biology.
In 2009, the Brosnahans moved back to South Dakota to be closer to family. Initially, he worked for the Colman-Egan School District while working on a master's degree in administration at SDSU. After finishing that degree in 2012, he accepted a position in Canton as dean of students.
While he was technically an administrator in Canton, where he also taught sixth-grade math, he didn't have the kind of leadership role he wanted. He wanted to evaluate and coach staff as well as work with students, which is why the position at Rutland appealed to him.
In looking forward to the upcoming school year, Brosnahan is not so much daunted by the possibility of bumps in the road, which he views as learning opportunities, as he is looking forward to seeing staff and students back in the building.
"The thing I'm looking forward to right now is seeing the kids and seeing the teachers and seeing all the smiles," he said.
At present, Rutland plans to begin school on Aug. 24 with the school open house on Aug. 12. A committee will be meeting to determine strategies to begin school safely. In addition, Brosnahan has been engaged in conversations with other superintendents regarding this.
Brosnahan lives in Sioux Falls where his wife works at Sanford. They have three children. Alex will be a junior at Roosevelt High School; Emory will be in eighth grade at Memorial Middle School; and Gavin will be attending Discovery Elementary.