A Native Union Countian and educator has returned home to serve as principal of East Union Attendance Center.
Lee Bruce, a 1995 graduate of the home of the Epic Urchins, was hired to replace Ray Kennedy, who retired in June. His wife, Belinda, also an East Union graduate, will also join the staff as 7th grade English teacher.
Bruce, who received an undergraduate degree from Mississippi State University and a master’s degree in education leadership from the University of Mississippi, will begin his 19th year in the education field. He began his career as a teacher and coach of a variety of sports at Mooreville High School, then served as assistant principal for six years and finally as principal for eight years.
Bruce was named Lee County administrator of the year in 2017.
“After five years in the classroom, I had the opportunity to become assistant principal,” Bruce said. “I was working on my master’s degree at the time and so that’s something I definitely wanted to do. From there, I had an opportunity to become at Mooreville Middle School for one year, then on to Mooreville High School. It was just a kind of a natural progression of something I’ve been extremely blessed with and by.”
Bruce said he has four core values that he wants to bring to East Union.
“We’re going to keep our kids safe, we’re going to be professional, we’re going to value our instructional time and we’re going to teach and love kids,” he said. “We don’t teach a test, we teach kids. We’re going to teach the standards and we want to score really, really well on the tests, but we can’t get lost on all of the data. Not only are we going to teach the standards, but we also want to care about the kids as people and help them be successful in life. If we do that, the grades and test scores will take care of themselves.”
Bruce said he and his wife are excited to return home to East Union.
“I’m humbled by the experience to be able to be a principal here,” Bruce said. “This is a special place. This is home for me and my wife. For us to be able to come back here and for our kids to be able to graduate here, that was an opportunity I just couldn’t turn down. This school is full of great teachers and great kids. There’s a lot of potential here and I’m extremely excited about this opportunity.
The Bruces have a son who will be a freshman this year and a daughter who will be in the 5th grade.
Bruce did say that transitioning from administrator of a high school to administrator of an attendance center will be a big challenge.
“I have a lack of experience with pre-K through 5th grade,” he said. “I have some middle school experience, but the majority of my experience is 9-12. It’s something I’m really looking forward to. We’ve got some great administrators, faculty and staff here. Leigh Lucius, our assistant principal, is going to be helping with the elementary grades. I’m really looking forward to working with that side of it, working with some younger students.
“I just began work as principal here in June and I’ve been impressed already with the work ethic that our administrators, our teachers and staff have shown.”