Much like the Loch Ness monster and the tooth fairy, everyone has a vague idea of who Executive Director Brian Bauer is, but not many students on campus really know his true identity. From expanding our school’s horizon and shaping the lives of our students, he is essentially the modest man in charge.
Bauer has been an educator for 28 years, and has been working at Granada Hills Charter (GHC) for 19. However, his dedication to running GHC all stems from a wonderful upbringing where he was surrounded by a supportive family who has an impressive educational background.
From an early age, Bauer always knew he liked school. In fact, education was a major emphasis for his parents. He largely attributes his success in and enjoyment of school to his parents’ positive attitude towards learning, which was encouraging rather than overbearing.
“We were all encouraged to do our best in school. Not in terms of pressure, but rather we had examples of what it meant to be students and learners from our parents and our grandparents who were still learning as adults,” Bauer said.
With the helpful push from his parents, Bauer attended exceptional schools including a bachelor’s degrees in English and Spanish from Yale University and a master’s degree in Educational Administration from CSU Dominguez Hills and UCLA. He is also in the process of obtaining a PhD in Education Policy from UCLA.
His interest in education continued into the teaching realm, where he had many other positive influences. One for instance being Melquiades Mares, who was a principal at Bell High School, Bauer’s first teaching job.
Mares essentially took a gamble with Bauer’s career. Bauer was fresh from college graduation with no teaching experience, but Mares believed in him and hired him, which went a long way. Bauer taught English as a Second Language (ESL), English and Spanish. In the end, this first teaching opportunity drove the development of his career.
“I was fortunate to have a principal who believed in me. He went out on a limb to hire me, even when he didn’t even have a position for me. He gave me a list of the best teachers and let me observe their classes for several weeks,” Bauer said.
Working under Mares’ guidance along with having the chance to observe other teachers allowed Bauer to become a successful educator. From there, he continuously moved upwards in each position he had until reaching Executive Director of the largest charter school in the nation.
In addition to being an accomplished educator, Bauer wants students to know that there is much more to him than meets the eye. Specifically, Bauer sees himself a passionate, loyal, and accepting individual. While much of this stems from his profession as an educator, it also comes from his travel opportunities.
Bauer has been fortunate to be able to travel, whether for work or with family, to locations such as South America, Europe, the Himalayas, and more. By the age of 28, he had visited each of the seven continents, with Antarctica being one of the most unique places he has set his foot on.
“I’ve travelled a lot. And I’m fortunate with my family and my parents in that they exposed us to travel. Also, as a teacher, having time off at different times of the year allowed me to travel,” Bauer said.
These travels have taught him many valuable life lessons and allowed him to appreciate different cultures.
Even when not travelling outside of the country, he enjoys traveling around to find new restaurants. Bauer has been a vegan since 1987, so he seeks local eateries that fit his dietary preferences, but also allow him the option of indulging in his favorite foods such as Mexican and Italian cuisine.
Along with travelling, Bauer enjoys watching and partaking in many sports including tennis, volleyball, and soccer. When he was younger, Bauer was a competitive tennis player.
Being a well-rounded individual has made him an impactful leader who has helped GHC evolve from a successful high school to an award winning school, to now a school which boasts a wide range of classes from transitional kindergarten to 12th grade.
Driven by his remarkable upbringing surrounded by an inspirational family to his impressive education, Bauer proves how the ability to be a good son is a stepping stone to faring well in many aspects of life. Currently, Bauer’s primary focus is on what he can improve in his current work and home environment as opposed to worrying about what’s next.