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Mr. Branger ready for freedom of retirement

Connor Servais, Editor

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Mr. Branger shares a laugh with student, cole

Dave Branger, a teacher of students with disabilities at Bay Port for fourteen years, has decided to retire from teaching after this school year. His calm demeanor will be missed by many staff members and hundreds of students who left his class feeling confident and assured to live in society. 

Although, Mr. Branger hadn’t always planned on becoming a teacher. He first received his BA in Art History from UW-Milwaukee. It wasn’t until he was a teaching assistant during graduate school that he realized the significance of helping and mentoring others. Because of this, he continued schooling to receive his certification in broad field social studies in 1984.

“It was very difficult, as it still is, to find a career teaching social studies.” The difficulty to get a job left him without many options, so he was left only substituting at St. Ignatius Catholic School in the South side of Milwaukee. He taught a broad range of areas– teaching in every subject except for gym and music classes. He taught here for five years before moving to Green Bay with his future wife, whom he had met living in Milwaukee.

He still had a drive to teach on his own, so after years working as a substitute and plenty of encouragement from the teachers working alongside him, he returned to UW-Oshkosh for a degree in special education.

After receiving his certification, he accepted a position as a special ed teacher at Cedar Grove – Belgium high school. He taught there for three years, until he made the move to Bay Port in order to be closer to his wife’s mother, who was in need of a caretaker.

Fourteen years later, Mr. Branger decided to stick around, and he hasn’t regretted it. Other staff members and he have grown a close bond over the course of his time here, especially those in the special ed department and classrooms around him. In fact, besides teaching and connecting with students, “Seeing the people that I get to see every day,” is what he’ll miss the most after retirement.

For him, the most rewarding moments in teaching, happened when he didn’t expect it. It was “Knowing that you’re affecting and helping them somewhere down the line,” that provided him with a strong sense of satisfaction as an educator.

In retirement, Mr. Branger is looking forward to finishing some home improvement projects, camping, reading and possibly training for another marathon.

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