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From Chicago to Vermont: Jonathan Bratko 

Johnathan Bratko, the new Assistant Principal.

Bellows Free Academy’s recently hired Assistant Principal, Johnathan Bratko, sat down to chat with the Mercury

When asked about how his school year is going so far, he said, “It’s going really well. I am really enjoying my time here at BFA.”

Bratko has lived in Vermont for a year, but before that, he resided in Chicago. 

 “I’ve lived there my entire life,” Bratko said. He was a science teacher, and then an administrator in Chicago. Bratko and his wife decided to move to be near his wife’s family in Essex after having their first son. 

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Bratko has been coming to Vermont with his wife for 15 years, calling it a “second home.” 

“I’ve always loved the outdoors, so it’s been a great place to come back and be able to go five minutes down the road to hike on a trail that isn’t paved or on a road,” Bratko said 

Bratko noted that a big difference between Chicago and Vermont is that everything is closed earlier in Vermont. “In Chicago, if I wanted a pizza or I needed to get a gallon of milk at 2 o’clock in the morning, I could. It’s that accessibility, I think, that’s very, very different,” Bratko said.

“It’s also the pace,” Bratko said. “There is a little bit of an edge where you have to move really quick in Chicago.” 

Originally, Bratko wanted to be a scientist and has a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry. “I quickly found out I was not built to stay inside that long. You have to stay inside and do experiments, which are fun, but at the same time, I like being outside,” Bratko said. 

In the process of making his career switch, Bratko worked at REI and Whole Foods. He soon after went back and pursued his Master’s Degree from the University of Illinois, Chicago. After teaching for 10 years, Bratko went to North Central College and got his administrator’s license.

Bratkos’s position at BFA is “a little bit of everything,” as he said. He primarily deals with attendance and discipline but also walks around ensuring safety. 

“I like this role because while there are primary responsibilities, you’re having to deal and handle and work through things all the time. Even in the downtime, you still have stuff to do,” Bratko said.

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About the Contributor
Cooper O'Connell
Cooper O'Connell, Editor-in-Chief
Cooper O’Connell is a junior at BFA, and this is his second year participating as an editor for The Mercury. In his free time, he enjoys playing golf, fishing and reading. He looks forward to taking a class specifically dedicated to journalism in the near future. Along with being in the journalism club, he enjoys being part of BFA's Interact Club.

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