After taking on new challenge, Bronski named UCS Teacher of the Year


After being named both Utica High and UCS high school teacher of the year, Kelly Bronski thought she was simply attending a congratulatory breakfast. Instead, the day ended with her driving off with a Mustang convertible, just one part of her prize for being named 2015 UCS Teacher of the Year.

“I knew that I was one of five teachers being honored that morning,” Bronski said, “but I had no idea that they were going to choose one of us to represent the district. I really didn’t even know about the possibility of getting a car, either. The whole thing was a big surprise.”

After being named the recipient of this year’s award, three of her students, senior Katelyn Elder, junior Kumehnnu Gwilly and sophomore Roza Deda walked out from behind the scenes to congratulate her, as well.

“I was so impressed by our kids,” Bronski said, taking the spotlight off of herself. “They represented the friendly, well-spoken students we have at Utica High.”

Bronski’s new title began with a nomination from teacher Steve Haley.

“I nominated Mrs. Bronski because I saw through my two sons just how great of a teacher she really is,” Haley said. “Both of my sons have become very successful writers due to the guidance they received in her AP English Language class.”

In addition to helping AP students achieve academic success, this year Bronski took on the challenge of launching a new program, Advancement Via Individual Determination. Through this new class, she teaches skills to successfully complete college to students with the potential to take honor and AP classes.

“She inspires kids and she gets them to understand why what they’re doing is meaningful and how it’s going to pay off,” principal Tom Lietz said. “She is very successful at doing it.”

Bronski taught English 9 and drama at Larson Middle School in Troy, where she student taught, and then made the move to Utica High in 2001. From the very beginning, her talent for teaching was obvious to her peers.

“Bronski had total warrior talent right from the start,” teacher Rick Farr said. “She instantly hit me as smart, capable, beautiful, and especially effervescent.”

Bronski’s career as a Chieftain began with Honors English classes.

“I used to make my own curriculum,” Bronski said, “and taught what I thought was the right level of toughness for eleventh grade honors students.”

Soon afterward, Bronski begain teaching AP classes. Different from honors classes, she had to make a college syllabus and get it approved by a college board. Bronski also went to summer classes at Oakland to prepare her to teach for the AP exam.

“Teaching AP classes is a really big responsibility,” Bronski said. “It is a lot of work, but it really is exciting and fun in the end.”

Bronski eventually became the one and only teacher to teach AP Language and Composition at Utica.

“I became the only AP Language and Composition teacher because the program started up when I was the only Honors English 11 teacher,” Bronski said. “Now, administration has Taryn Larson teach one class of AP Language and Composition, and I help her out in every way I can.”

Students say they enjoy Bronski’s teaching style.

“Bronski is my favorite English teacher,” junior Ashlie Hawe said. “She really understands what she is talking about and is always open to questions. She is also very relatable and is easy to talk to.”

Junior Sophia Simbeni also enjoys Bronski’s class.

“Mrs. Bronski is so relatable and fun,” Simbeni said. “Her class is not boring. and I always walk in wanting to be there.”

Today, Bronski has the same mission she had when she first went into education: to make a difference in the lives of her students

“I felt, and still feel, incredibly shocked and honored to be the recipient of these awards,” teacher Kelly Bronski said. “I am blessed to work with the most dedicated, supportive staff and to teach, mentor, and collaborate with intelligent and motivated young people on a daily basis. I truly have the best job in the world, and this award is shared with all of those who have inspired and helped me to become the teacher I am today.”