Brian Beck talks a lot about trajectories. As principal of Bullard High School in Fresno, he has a hand in shaping and guiding the trajectories of more than 2,500 students. So it’s no wonder the word is one he uses a lot.
But his personal connection to the word is less ubiquitous among high school principals in the Central Valley. The reason Beck is so committed to seeing kids succeed, is that his own path in life did not necessarily set him up for success. The child of teen parents, Beck was the first in his family to go to college. “I’m looking for me out there,” Beck says of his approach as a principal. And he believes that changing the course of a student’s academic path will have a ripple effect for generations to come.
At Bullard, Beck is keeping an eye on the trajectories of around 2,700 students. Located on Palm between Barstow and Browning, Bullard is close to the Fig Garden neighborhood. But the school, which was founded in 1955, has spawned a neighborhood all its own.
When it comes to the achievements of Bullard students “there’s a lot to be proud of,” Beck says. The school has 24 varsity-level sports teams, more than 60 extra-curricular clubs and offers 16 AP courses. No matter what they’re involved in, Beck says Bullard students strive to be the best. The school also offers several career pathways including biomedical, entrepreneurship, and law (which gets to argue cases in the campus’ very own courtroom).
Here, Beck talks about that teacher that made him want to be a teacher, what makes Bullard a great school, and why he thinks a focus on education will lead to a better Fresno in the long run.