David Bradley wasn't ready to retire five years ago, when he started working as St. Croix Central School District superintendent. But he is now.
Bradley began his career in Iowa, working for 11 years as a vocal music instructor followed by 22 years in school administration.
Bradley said the step from music instruction to administration was natural to him, because he's always enjoyed leadership roles.
"My mom tells me I've always liked to tell people what to do," Bradley said. "When I was growing up, I was the kid in the neighborhood that would get everyone rounded up to play ball in the summer."
When Bradley qualified for retirement in Iowa five years ago, he wasn't ready to retire. He and his wife own a cabin north of Green Bay. The Bradleys had always enjoyed the time they spent in Wisconsin, so they decided to move there. That way, Bradley could draw his retirement from Iowa while still working full time.
"It's just been a really good deal for me," Bradley said. "Personally and professionally."
Bradley said he has enjoyed his time at SCC, especially his first two years in the district.
"The first two years here were probably the most enjoyable and rewarding years in my career," Bradley said.
Bradley said he has especially enjoyed working with the other district office staff, nicknamed "The Dream Team."
"They're just amazing," Bradley said. "Everyone gets along so well and works so well together, it's just an ideal work environment."
Bradley said the next few years were more challenging, with Wisconsin's Act 10 creating contract and union issues, as well as the tragedies that have hit SCC this year.
"So many people say 'Oh, Dave, I feel so sorry for you going out this way, with so many challenges,'" Bradley said. "I appreciate that sentiment and that concern, but it's so much easier for me than it is for many other people."
Bradley said the silver lining has been seeing the community support for those affected by the tragedies that have hit the district.
"It warms my soul," Bradley said. "It just reiterates what a very special place this is."
Bradley said he will miss his SCC coworkers, as well as the responsibilities of being a district superintendent.
"I'm not going to have those things in my life anymore, so I'm kind of wondering how I'll fill that void."
As he moves on to the next stage of his life, Bradley said he hopes for the best for SCC's future.
"My hope is that they just continue to grow and flourish," Bradley said.
As for his own future, Bradley said he and his wife plan to spend a lot more time visiting their children and grandchildren. They also plan to spend more time at their cabin
"I do a lot of walleye fishing and trolling for salmon on Lake Michigan in the summer," Bradley said. "As a former singer I love to sing, so I'd like to do some of that in the future."