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James Brauer | Let’s Connect, Network, Learn

Brief Bio of James Brauer

James Brauer is currently the Director of Graduate Education for the School of Education at Avila University, located in Kansas City, MO. Previously, he served as the founding School Leader and virtual school principal  the Virtual School at Iowa Connections Academy. Under his tenure, he led administrative and teacher leader teams that provided a personalized, professional, and effective virtual school experience to k-12 grade level students that were unable to attend traditional brick-and-mortar schools due to distance or other circumstances. 

Professional Background

I’ve lived in four different states, from the Chicago suburbs to Kansas City and Iowa. After graduating high school I went off for my undergraduate degree at University of Kansas where I earned degrees in social studies education and curriculum & instruction while also picking up a masters on adaptive special education.

I began my teaching career in the USD 500 Kansas City KS school district and I have great memories from my time there. My colleagues were some of the most important people for me, because they helped build a strong foundation for what would become an outstanding future as a teacher.

After several years at USD 500, I completed an education administration program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City which led to a new position as an assistant principal at the North Kansas City Schools. My assignment was at an alternative school for students with special needs. 

In 2012, I secured a position as principal of Iowa Connections Academy (IACA). IACA is a public, virtual school serving students in grades K-12 from throughout the state of Iowa. 

My current role is that of Director of Graduate Education for Avila University’s School of Education. My primary responsibility includes overseeing various academic programming, specifically as the university expands multiple graduate-level online programming.

Academic Background

My academic background includes the following:

Personal Interests

Outside of my work life, I have found hobbies in: smoking meats and cooking; gardening; learning foreign languages; and blogging/YouTubing

My Theoretical Framework

I believe this is important to share because it explains more about my philosophy and explains why I think the way I do.

  1. Connectivism – Connectivism is a learning theory that suggests individuals gain knowledge by connecting with various nodes of information, making meaning from that information, publishing/sharing their newfound information with others so ultimately others can learn. This creates a network of learning that builds and expounds from groups of people.
  2. Personal Learning Networks (PLN) – Individuals create their own networks, or systems, of information that they use for learning or collaborating. In a professional sense, one’s PLN is likely where they gather new information from colleagues or experts. A PLN can include: blogs; YouTube channels; Twitter handles and hashtags; etc.
  3. 8 Dimensions of Wellness – This framework was developed to consider all the various components that derive one’s overall wellness. Within the framework include the following types of wellness: a.) emotional; b.) environmental; c.) financial; d.) intellectual; e.) occupational; f.) physical; g.) social; and h.) spiritual. Through self-care, personal development, effective practices through leadership and management, and an empathetic leadership style, organizations with which I am associated can achieve highly effective results.

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