Incoming Brandywine superintendent ‘excited’ to lead district

Published 2:00 pm Saturday, May 14, 2022

NILES — Brandywine Middle/High School Principal Travis Walker likes to joke that he “went into the family business” when he pursued a career in education. 

His grandfather was a principal and superintendent and his grandmother a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse. His dad taught middle school math for 38 years. So when Walker was chosen to become the new superintendent at Brandywine Community Schools starting next school year, he was grateful to have the opportunity to both honor those who inspired him and to serve the district he calls home.

“It’s really the leaders that I had along the way who shaped me and motivated me,” he said. “I wanted to aspire to be like them and to serve others the way that they served me. There were others that I worked with in the past where I just knew that our students and our staff deserve more and that also inspired me to be a better leader, to make the difference that maybe they weren’t making.”

Walker has served as an administrator with Brandywine since the start of the 2021-22 school year. Prior to Brandywine, he served as principal for Constantine High School for more than five years. A Manistee, Michigan native, he also taught math at Kaleva Norman Dickson Schools for years and for the Grand Traverse Area Catholic Schools for three years. 

Walker will begin on July 1 and will replace Karen Weimer, who announced her retirement in January. While he is excited to lead the district next year, Walker acknowledged the difficulty of leaving the middle and high school students and staff he has gotten to know this year.

“It’s been good, but it’s a bittersweet in a way,” he said. “I’m so thankful that I get to stay within the district and lead the district in a new role but at the same time, it’s a little bittersweet because this has been an amazing school year getting to know our students and our staff. I’ve had a lot of students who have approached me in the past week just saying that they’re happy for me but sad that I won’t be walking the halls every day with them next year. 

“It’s a little sad for me too, I’ll certainly miss that daily interaction but that’s one of my goals is to get in all of our buildings on a weekly basis and make sure that I’m not losing touch with the students and the staff.”

The bond Walker created with the district is what encouraged him to pursue the superintendent position.

“A big reason why I applied for this position is just the experience that I’ve had in just one short year here,” he said. “I told the staff very early on that they really rejuvenated me and have really inspired me and motivated me to come in every day with that positive attitude and give our best to the kids. It’s a great educational community; we’ve got great kids, we’ve got a great staff and we’ve got supportive parents, so it’s been a really phenomenal experience for me this year and I just feel blessed and fortunate to have found this community.”