Nurturing the youth and shaping them into the leaders of the future is something we should all strive for. For Ben Braden, Assistant Principal of La Porte Middle School, this motto has been a life-long and rewarding endeavor.
“These experiences shaped me into the person I am today,” Braden said. “Serving the students of La Porte Middle School and the community as a whole means everything to me. I attended school here when I was younger, and now giving back to the city that raised me is truly a special opportunity.”
Even before moving to La Porte, he was making an impact in academic communities outside of Indiana. Starting out as a teacher, he has worked in schools in Texas and Georgia, and has interacted with students from all walks of life.
“Over time, working in these different environments helped me find a level of relatability with students,” Braden said. “My experiences working in these communities have prepared me for my current job serving the young people of La Porte.”
Braden graduated from Ball State University with a degree in elementary education. When he was a teacher, Braden describes his teaching style as “socratic,” which means he prefers to act as a facilitator of discussion and discovery of knowledge rather than relying on more traditional methods like standard worksheets. He stated that this teaching methodology allows students to focus more on their critical thinking skills and form healthy relationships to solve problems. This way of teaching further developed his outlook and methods as an administrator.
“I truly believe in the nobility in my profession,” Braden said. “Those working in the education field have the power to change communities, and one of the things that gives me energy in my role is working with a group of teachers that believe that as well.”
Today, Braden strives to cultivate a strong and healthy environment for his students, and he says this would not be possible without the help of the teachers. During the current quarantine, they all had to change their lesson plans and assignments to be completely online, and Braden wholeheartedly commends them for their adaptability and dedication to the livelihoods of their students.
“There is a lot of promise for the future, especially when it comes to our youth,” Braden said. “I see so many young people making a difference and strengthening this community. I think the City of La Porte is going in the right direction.”
When he is not working, Braden loves to spend time with his wife, Cathy, and his daughter, Avery, who is a cancer survivor.