Position: Science Teacher / Assistant Athletic Director
School: Yukon Middle School
School District: Yukon Public Schools
City, State: Yukon, OK
Music that Describes Brandon
Brandon Cromwell was nominated by his spouse, Heather Cromwell.
"There are many words I could use to describe Brandon Cromwell: hard working, loving, supportive, joker, friend, loyal. The list could go on and on," said Mrs. Cromwell. "The phrase 'LifeChanger,' however, sums him up so completely. He pours his heart and soul into the betterment of others."
Over the past 21 years, Mr. Cromwell has been dedicated to making a difference inside and outside of the classroom. He began his career as a seventh grade science teacher and girl's basketball coach. The following year, he moved up to teach eighth grade science and has been coaching wrestling, cross country, and track and field ever since. Mr. Cromwell also serves as one of the two assistant athletic directors for Yukon Middle School.
"In my experience as a classroom teacher for 22 years, I have noticed teachers who coach often have to live in the shadows of a very negative stereotype," said Mrs. Cromwell. "Many people believe a teacher who coaches is one to sit at their desk and give the kids 'busy work,' while they accomplish tasks to prepare for the next athletic event. Brandon is not that stereotype. He is a teacher first and a coach second. The crazy love he has for all things science and the joy he gets from sharing his knowledge with others is very apparent. He takes pride in his classroom and the success of his students. He makes it his daily goal to help prepare his students for the rigorous state test, as well as instilling a love for science in them."
As a three sport coach, Mr. Cromwell strives for excellence for each of his teams. He excels at building a positive rapport with his athletes, and he holds them accountable in and out of the classroom. He knows sports are often the only hook available to keep students engaged in the classroom and out of trouble. Often times, students only want to focus on sports and can be lazy in the classroom. In doing so, their grades can slide, and before they know it, they find themselves ineligible to compete. To help prevent this, Mr. Cromwell works closely with his athletes, as well as their parents and teachers. If he has a student who is at risk due to grades or poor life choices, he jumps right in to offer support and to find positive solutions to problems. He is quick to offer students second chances, and he tries his best to be a consistent, loving, positive role model for them.
In addition to teaching science and coaching, Mr. Cromwell also serves as an assistant athletic director for football, wrestling, and track and field. This allows him many opportunities to work with and assist not only students, but teachers and coaches, as well. He works closely with the coaches to make sure they can help their teams reach their highest potential. He does this by helping with schedules, checking to make sure the facilities and referees are ready, assisting in hiring coaching staff, purchasing team equipment, and promoting all sports among the staff and school culture.
"Brandon has also been a coach to our son and daughter," said Mrs. Cromwell. "He has coached our daughter in cross country and track. He has coached our son in pole vault and wrestling. I have seen him through the eyes of not only a 'coach's wife,' but the mom of two athletes. I have watched him draw out the best in his athletes and instill confidence, courage, and resilience. The kids follow him from event to event on the track, listening closely and waiting for his approval and opinions. I have watched him as he has pulled each of his wrestlers aside after a match so they can learn and grow from the mistakes they may have made on the mat."
"To say that Brandon has given his life to making a difference in the lives of others is definitely fitting," said Mrs. Cromwell. "Whether he is in the classroom, at a sporting event, at church working with youth, or being a dad to our 14 year old twins, Brandon always has the interest of others at heart. He is a LifeChanger. Each day, he has the opportunity to work with our youth. One conversation at a time. One lesson at a time. One coachable moment at a time."
"Is it an easy journey? Of course not," said Mrs. Cromwell. "It takes hours of work above and beyond the typical work day. It takes patience, time away from family, endurance, and most of all, a love of children and lots of grace. He is one of the lucky ones. He can go home each day knowing he made a difference in the lives of his students and athletes. We, too, are lucky that he continues to make the choice to do so."