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Indian Valley Elementary principal Paula Bruno earns doctorate degree


SYLACAUGA, Ala. – Paula Bruno, principal of Indian Valley Elementary School of the Sylacauga City School (SCS) system, has completed the requirements to earn her Doctorate of Education. (EdD)

After three years of pursuing the degree while still teaching, Bruno successfully defended her dissertation concerning the self-efficacy of classroom management, student engagement, and instructional strategies. She will receive her diploma from Samford University in April.

Bruno began her doctorate journey while serving as assistant principal at Nichols-Lawson Middle School. She continued the process throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, all the while helping guide Indian Valley through the struggles of switching between in-person, virtual, and blended learning that the COVID crisis brought on.

“My goal was to never quit, no matter how tough things got,” said Bruno. “I was determined to see this all the way through. My biggest motivation was knowing that my girls were watching me. My husband (Benny), daughters, and other family members have sacrificed a lot to support me through this process, and now it is time for me to focus on them.”

Bruno has daughters in the 7th and 3rd grades and said it was important to her to set an example for her girls that if you want something, you have to be prepared to work hard to get it.

Dr. Bruno is a 2002 graduate of Sylacauga High School. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Alabama A&M, and a master’s from West Alabama. She also holds an Educational Specialist (EdS) degree from Jacksonville State University.

“Dr. Bruno is one of the few Sylacauga High School graduates who has earned this distinction and has chosen to use her talents at home here in Sylacauga,” Sylacauga City School Superintendent Dr. Michele Eller remarked. “We hope more of our graduates will follow in her footsteps.”

Following graduation from Alabama A&M, she taught elementary school in Sylacauga for nine years. In 2016, she was named assistant principal at Nichols-Lawson Middle School, and has been principal of Indian Valley Elementary since 2019.

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