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Showing posts with label school. Show all posts
Showing posts with label school. Show all posts

Monrovia High Salutes Valedictorian and Salutatorian

Valedictorian Kate Tadeo will attend Columbia University to study neuroscience and behavior. Salutatorian Jessica Lee will attend UC Berkeley to study environmental engineering.

For their strong academic achievement, perseverance, and dedication to pursuing their goals, Monrovia High School seniors Kate Tadeo and Jessica Lee have been named the Class of 2020’s valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively.

“It is with great pleasure that we celebrate Monrovia’s top scholars, who have displayed the hard work, dedication, and wisdom we admire in our student and academic leaders,” Monrovia Board President Rob Hammond said. “Kate and Jessica are wonderful people with great hearts and bright futures.”

Tadeo earned a 4.74 GPA and will attend Columbia University to study neuroscience and behavior, with plans to become an anesthesiologist. Tadeo has been designated a John W. Kluge Scholar through the Columbia Undergraduate Scholar Program.

Tadeo completed 15 Advanced Placement (AP) classes, as well as several courses at Citrus College as part of Monrovia’s dual-enrollment Early College Program. Tadeo is a graduate of Monrovia’s Math and Science Academy (MASA) and a member of the National Honors Society and California Scholarship Federation (CSF).

“It feels very good to have all of the hard work pay off,” Tadeo said. “There were so many nights, especially in my junior year, when I stayed up all night long studying for my AP classes. But I am so happy to be going to Columbia. I’m ready for my next step.”

Tadeo’s best memories of school include four years on the cross-country team, which helped her to relax, and serving as vice president of Monrovia’s Interact Club, where she performed community service in partnership with Rotary International, including the annual “Santa Clothes” event for Foothill Unity Center K-8 students.

“Every December, we would take them on $250 shopping sprees at Kohl’s,” Tadeo said. “We would go into the store with the kids and help them pick out clothes. It was a chance for them to choose their wardrobe with someone closer to their age. They were so happy. It was adorable.” 

“Kate and Jessica represent the best of Monrovia Unified: academic excellence, school spirit, community activism, and integrity. As is often the case with our students,” Superintendent Dr. Katherine Thorossian said. “I am inspired by their enthusiasm and optimism.”

Lee earned a 4.56 GPA, has completed 13 AP and six Honors classes and will attend UC Berkeley to study environmental engineering. Lee is a MASA graduate, is a member of the Mandarin Honors Society and CSF and served as captain of the Monrovia girls varsity tennis team.

“My love for the environment actually comes from cars. When I discovered Tesla electric cars, I became interested in technology and developing products that are environmentally friendly and benefit humanity.” Lee said. “I even brainstormed and developed self-watering pots, of which I made over 300, to donate to my local nursing homes. This way the community could enjoy nature indoors with ease. I’d love to become an entrepreneur one day.”

Lee is part of a Toastmasters Gavel Public Speaking Club, which hosts youth workshops that help elementary school students with public speaking, offering tips on eye contact and body language. The group, which consists of high school student leaders across Southern California, has raised money for the United Way HomeWalk, a 5k to end homelessness in Los Angeles, and has an annual holiday tradition of singing carols and performing skits at area nursing homes.

“Senior year has been my favorite year. It’s been very relaxing,” Lee said. “I’ve really enjoyed being with my friends and not worrying about college submissions. There were many new places in Monrovia that we would go to. That’s my favorite memory of school.”

Tadeo and Lee are continuing family traditions. Tadeo’s brother, Kemyl, and Lee’s brother, Kevin were Monrovia High valedictorians.

“I have had the pleasure of knowing Kate and Jessica since they arrived at Monrovia High and am so proud of them for all of the work they have accomplished here,” Principal Kirk McGinnis said. “It has been a struggle for our seniors this year, but Kate and Jessica have come through it all as true leaders, with confidence and compassion. Congratulations to the Monrovia High Class of 2020.”

Source: Monrovia Schools press release

- Brad Haugaard

Ideas on Improving Monrovia Education? Here's Your Opportunity to Share

Monrovia Schools will hold meetings for input on its Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) on Feb. 24, from 7-8:30 p.m., and Feb. 25, from 6-7:30 p.m. Both meetings in the Board Room of the District office at 325 E. Huntington. Spanish translation provided. And what's an LCAP? The California Department of Education says "The LCAP is a tool for local educational agencies to set goals, plan actions, and leverage resources to meet those goals to improve student outcomes."

- Brad Haugaard

A/C Work at Clifton, Plymouth; Repave Parking Lot Next to Monrovia High

At its next meeting ( the Monrovia Board of Education will consider ...

~ Having work done on the air conditioning systems at Clifton and Plymouth schools (and gas lines at Plymouth) for about $71,000.

~ Repave the parking lot on 124 S. Madison Avenue, next to Monrovia High for $104,900.

- Brad Haugaard

School District Plans to Reach Out to China for Students

At its next meeting (agenda: the Monrovia Board of Education will consider hiring Kay Mui for $90 an hour for three months to set-up and manage an account on the Chinese social media platform, WeChat, to promote the district's Mandarin Dl program and grow the district's marketing database and "reach out to overseas schools/agents." She will strategize on WeChat design, plan content and try to increase the number of followers for the district, especially during Chinese New Year.

- Brad Haugaard

New Teaching Garden at Mayflower School

Mayflower Elementary has partnered with EnrichLA to bring a new teaching garden that will include new learning experiences for students such as lesson plans about nutrition, healthy living, and gardening. These classes will help students establish an immediate connection between the process of growing fruits and vegetables! Enrich LA will need parent assistance to install the garden on July 31, 2019 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Source: Monrovia School District

- Brad Haugaard

Mt Sierra Colleges Shuts Down

Monrovia's Mt Sierra College has abruptly shut its doors, on June 25. It's president gave one-day's notice of its closure, citing financial difficulties. DeVry University is accepting transferring students.

- Brad Haugaard

School District to Adopt Local Accountability Plan, 2019-20 Budget

At its next meeting (agenda: the Monrovia Board of Education will consider ...

~ Adopting its Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP). Here's what the board will be voting on ( and here's an overview for parents:

~ Adopting the district budget for 2019-20. It doesn't look as if there are any surprises, but you can look for yourself:

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Quarterback Nick Hernandez is Ready to Play

Feature on Monrovia High Quarterback Nick Hernandez:

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia High Graduates 367; Honors Memory of Student Kelsey Meza and Teacher Tom Reale

Valedictorian Penny Lan delivers speech during Monrovia High School’s graduation ceremony on June 5, encouraging members of the Class of 2019 to always chase their dreams and never forget where they came from.  

Administrators, teachers, and family and friends celebrated 367 Class of 2019 graduates who said goodbye to Monrovia High School during an evening commencement ceremony on June 5. This year's commencement ceremony was dedicated in memory of senior Kelsey Meza and MHS teacher Tom Reale, who passed away this school year. Amongst the sea of graduates, an empty seat was set up next to Meza's best friends, and her diploma was presented to her family.

"Look at yourselves and look around you - 12 long years of education and I am proud to be representing this Class of 2019," valedictorian Penny Lan said. "I see in front of me such a variety of talent and limitless protentional, but don't forget where we came from. Once a Wildcat, always a Wildcat."

The 2019 Honor Guard was made up of more than 60 Monrovia Unified teachers, coaches, and counselors who applauded and cheered. The honor guard was nominated by the Class of 2019 for the continued inspiration and support members give to students.

"When I look at this group of graduates, I see many different stories and I see leaders," Principal Kirk McGinnis said. "These young adults are poised to change the world as we know it, and they will put a mark on humanity with both flair and purpose but - more importantly - with energy, intelligence, and a sense of service to something bigger than themselves."

The night of celebration continued as Santa Fe Computer Science Magnet School Principal Geoff Zamarripa delivered a keynote address, inspiring students to continue following their dreams and take risks.

The 2019 graduating class includes 160 students recognized with special honors, 91 Golden State Merit Diploma graduates, 51 students who earned the State of California Seal of Biliteracy, 59 members of the ninth graduating class of the Math and Science Academy, and 14 members of the second graduating class of the Humanities Academy.

"It is my honor to receive and accept this graduation class of Monrovia High School," Board President Ed Gililland said. "We know that you have done the hard work to acquire the knowledge and the life skills to be successful wherever your next steps take you."

Ending the night, graduates walked on stage and were congratulated by MHS administrators, the Board of Education, and Superintendent Katherine Thorossian.

"Having hope and a plan will lead you to the most unexpected and remarkable places," Thorossian said. "Enjoy the journey and continue to give your family and friends reasons to be proud, celebrate, and take pride in you. Congratulations Wildcats."

Students turned their tassels from right to left, threw their caps in the air, and hugged each other as McGinnis acknowledged them as the new graduating class of MHS.

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Schools Celebrate Mountain Park and Canyon Oaks High School Graduates

A graduate from Mountain Park School receives her diploma and is congratulated by the school’s administrators during the commencement ceremony for Mountain Park and Canyon Oaks High School on June 4.

Monrovia Unified celebrated 270 students who graduated from the District’s Adult School, Canyon Oaks High School, and Mountain Park School during ceremonies that celebrated the achievements and successes of each student.

On May 30, Monrovia Community Adult School held its commencement ceremony for graduates who had completed the graduation requirements for the schools’ programs. Students graduated with certificates in Career Technical Education (CTE) programs such as medicine, computers, and construction. They were also recognized for completing the requirements to receive their high school diplomas.

“There is no shortcut or easy way at our Adult School or Alternative Schools,” Director of Alternative Schools Flint Fertig said. “These graduates did everything that was necessary and fulfilled all of the graduation requirements necessary to be here today. Congratulations to all of them for pushing through hardships and obstacles and achieving their goals.”

On June 4, family and friends, teachers, and administrators filled the auditorium at Clifton Middle School, cheering as 47 graduates from Canyon Oaks High School and Mountain Park School made their way to the stage during the commencement ceremony.

Three graduates – Benjamin Cortez, Katherine Onofre, and Brandon Trujillo – graduated with California State Seal of Biliteracy in Spanish – the first ever in the history of the District’s continuation high school. Additionally, Ariana Brooks, Grace Golden, and Rebecca Lauver graduated with Golden State Seal Merit Diplomas – also a first for the continuation school.

“It is my privilege to congratulate this group of graduates for their accomplishments,” Board President Ed Gililland said. “We know that each student has done the work necessary to be where they are today. We honor and wish them all continued success.”

During the ceremonies, scholarships were distributed to students by community groups such as Monrovia Rotary Club, Monrovia Kiwanis Club, Monrovia Latino Heritage Society, and Citrus College Bright Future. The scholarships totaled more than $15,000, a jump from the $8,000 distributed last year.

“Congratulations to all of our Adult School and Alternative Schools graduates,” Superintendent Katherine Thorossian said. “Every single one of them is focused on the future and the promises it holds. They’ve shown that they have the will and will determine the way to achieve their goals following graduation.”

Source: Monrovia School District press release

- Brad Haugaard

Success of Wild Rose as School of Creative Arts

Wild Rose School of Creative Arts students perform a number from “Lion King Kids” at the Ahmanson Theater on April 29. The performance celebrated what students had learned during their 17 weeks of training with theater professionals.

Monrovia families are buzzing about expansions in instructional options at Wild Rose School, including this year’s successful restructuring as a School of Creative Arts and the 2019-20 addition of dual language immersion in Spanish.

Spaces in the Spanish language program are already limited and the school is celebrating a partnership with Disney Musicals in Schools that helped bring students to the big stage at Monrovia High School’s Louise K. Taylor Performing Arts Center.

“We are overjoyed and impressed by the successes at Wild Rose this school year,” Superintendent Katherine Thorossian said. “Monrovia Unified is committed to the arts and we know our students gain valuable experiences, knowledge and skills to continue to pursue their passion in the arts. We look forward to another successful and exciting school year.”

Under the leadership of Principal Leslie Rapkine-Miller, Wild Rose celebrated the school’s renaming on Sept. 7 during an event marked by student performances. The shift integrated visual and performing arts across all core curricula to enhance student learning and achievement. Students worked year-long, exploring their interests in vocal music, show choir, dance, ceramics, theater, and band.

In fact, these programs are providing a win-win for the school. Previous years had seen a decline in enrollment throughout the San Gabriel Valley. However, in addition to providing greater depth of program for the students, the arts emphasis and dual language program have also transformed the school, breathing new life into its student population.

“It’s this sort of creativity, which feeds our students while also managing our population, that highlights the successes we’re seeing by the leadership at Wild Rose,” Thorossian said.

In December 2018, Wild Rose was awarded the Disney Musicals in Schools grant, which provided students with 17 weeks of training with theater professionals in preparation for their Disney “Lion King Kids” Spring 2019 production. Wild Rose was one of five Los Angeles County schools chosen for the honor.

“Monrovia Unified moved to rename Wild Rose as a way for our students to pursue their interests in a more in-depth, focused way,” Board President Ed Gililland said. “At Wild Rose School of Creative Arts, our students are exposed to high-quality arts programs that will help them gain confidence as they move on to middle school, high school, and beyond.”

On Jan. 18, Wild Rose students took to the stage to perform their rendition of “Aladdin” at the Louise K. Taylor Performing Arts Center. The show proved to be a hit throughout the community, and Rapkine-Miller negotiated for the school’s “Lion King Kids” production to be a community show, as well.

On April 19, Monrovia’s community enjoyed lively performances of fan-favorites such as “Circle of Life” and “I Just Can’t Wait to be King,” as 50 student actors impressed the audience with their final production of the year.

As the conclusion to the Disney Musicals in Schools grant, Wild Rose students performed a number from “Lion King Kids” at the Ahmanson Theater on April 29 and were later joined by the four other grant winners for a final number.

Building on the momentum stimulated by the arts program, Monrovia Unified expanded its highly popular Spanish dual-language program to Wild Rose.

“Our teachers and students received invaluable support and professional development in theater arts,” Rapkine-Miller said. “The training elevated our theater program and excited our students and teachers for what’s to come at Wild Rose School of Creative Arts.”

Classes, which will begin in August for transitional kindergarten and kindergarten, are already nearing capacity. Wild Rose is now the second elementary school in the District to offer the program.

Source: Monrovia Schools press release

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia High's Front Lawn May Become Even Greener

At its next meeting (agenda: the Monrovia Board of Education will consider applying for a Green Infrastructure Program grant, authorized by Proposition 68, to make the Monrovia High School front lawn "green."

If you thought the front lawn was already pretty green, I don't think you're on the right page. I don't think it's talking about the color, but rather projects that:
  • Reduce greenhouse gasses.
  • Improve the "sustainability and function" of hardscapes and landscapes.
  • Decrease air and water pollution.
  • Reduce use of natural resources and energy.
  • Increase the reliability of water supplies, and
  • "Increase adaptability to climate change."
The minimum award is $50,000, and if the district doesn't get the grant, the cost to restore the lawn will be approximately $27,000.

- Brad Haugaard

Superintendent Katherine Thorossian's May Schools Report

Dear Monrovia Unified School District community,

At Monrovia Unified, we are committed to preparing our students to graduate from high school equipped with the tools they need to be successful in college and careers. As our school year comes to an end, I am proud to say that our Class of 2019 graduates are responsible citizens who embrace diversity, think creatively and critically, and make a difference in the lives of others.
May was a time of celebration for Monrovia Unified and our scholars, teachers, and staff.

On May 6, our community came together to dedicate the Alternative Schools’ library to Bruce and Mariellen Staller, longtime volunteers who spent more than 20 years developing and improving the library. Our students are enriched by the time that our District volunteers offer so selflessly, and we are all grateful for all of the work Bruce and Mariellen put in to the library.

Monrovia Unified’s scholars and champions represented the District during the Monrovia Days community festival on May 18. The community enjoyed performances from our middle schools’ band and Monrovia High School’s marching band.

At the elementary level, our students were busy with dance and music performances. On May 28, all five of our elementary schools joined for the annual Elementary Spring Concert. Students stunned the audience with performances by combined bands, orchestra and strings, and combined choirs.

It has been a wonderful school year at Monrovia Unified, and our students have excelled in programs such as the arts, robotics, Code to the Future, dual language, and more! We encourage all of our students to enjoy their summer, while remembering the importance of staying connected to education during the summer months.

Congratulations to Monrovia Unified’s graduating Class of 2019 – though we are sad to see them go, we are excited for this new chapter in their lives!

Source: Monrovia Schools press release

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Schools: Progress in Reducing Suspension Rate; Greatest Need in Math and Absenteeism - Hearing Scheduled

Monrovia Schools has developed its Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) budget, which is now available for public review here:

The 344-page document details the strengths and weaknesses in the district and outlines what the district is going to do about the problems.

The district notes that its greatest progress has been in reducing the suspension rate, and its greatest needs are in mathematics and reducing chronic absenteeism.

The document says: 
Our immediate next steps are to:
1) Expand the math support provided include 4-5 grade teachers in the full implementation of the SWUN math curriculum [Common Core training], including a deeper study of the math framework. Also, continue to support the use of SBAC interims [progress tests] to guide adjustments to instruction based on the results.
2) District personnel and site administrators will focus on who are the students who are chronically absent and seek to provide supports based on individual needs. A portion of each Instructional Leaders meetings have been and will continue to be dedicated to the analysis of what has been effective in reducing chronic absenteeism and how to scale these approaches to other schools within the district.

The LCAP has been developed with community and staff input, based on student outcomes, and following guidelines regarding eight priority areas outline by the California Department of Education.

The LCAP hearing will occur during the Regular Meeting of the Board of Education beginning at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 12. Approval of the LCAP is set for Wednesday, June 26, 2019.

Source: Monrovia Schools press release and LCAP document

- Brad Haugaard

Foothill Unity Center Preps for Back-to-School Supply Event

Monrovia's Foothill Unity Center is prepping for its 2019 Back to School school supply event with a meeting at its 790 W. Chestnut Ave., Monrovia, office on June 13, from 3-4:30 p.m. If interested, RSVP to

- Brad Haugaard

Comment: Let's Not Overlook the Trades at Monrovia Schools

Recently I commented on some new tech-related courses at Monrovia High, saying, "Well, this is good, but it doesn't give me much confidence that there is any follow-through on the discussion before the election about science and tech not being for everybody. How about adding some classes for the trades: auto mechanics, electricians, etc.?"

Well, I got a response from a member of the district saying, if I may paraphrase, that the new Advanced Graphic Design, Web Development, and Game Development classes ARE trades because by taking them students can get good jobs without going on to college.

Okay, I suppose this is an acceptable definition of the "trades," but it was not what I was thinking about. Nor, do I imagine, is it what other people think about when they think of the trades. What I was thinking about was the traditional get-your-hands-dirty kind of jobs.

So why do I - who spent a career at tech companies - think the traditional trades are so important?

Well, suppose you are a computer graphic designer, web developer, or game developer. Who is your competition? I'll tell you who - Every other designer or developer in the whole big, wide, hungry world! Any job that can be done digitally can be done pretty much anywhere.

I know this because I've lived in the midst of it. I've watched programmers go from making well over $100,000 a year to being laid off. A nearby tech company I know recently laid off about a hundred programmers. At the same time the company is hiring programmers overseas.

So, these jobs are very easy to outsource to India or Ukraine, but also everybody and his brother's cat is being taught computer tech. I just saw an article called: "Coding for kindergarten." The concepts and tools for programming are being made simpler and simpler, which means more and more competition, even locally.

But suppose instead that you are a plumber, welder, or auto mechanic - someone who has to be physically at a location. Who is your competition? Probably nobody outside of maybe a 20-mile radius. You are NOT competing against the whole world. And when I talk to people in the trades they complain that they can't get enough workers.

So while I don't want to demean tech jobs, and I think, in particular, that the robotics teams in the Monrovia schools are really great, I think we are giving the trades - in the traditional sense - very short shrift, and I think in fairness to our students who do not want to go on to college that we should offer them training in skills that cannot be done in India or the Ukraine for a quarter of the cost they can be done here.

Rant concluded.

Update: Oh yeah, I wanted to add this joke:

Man gets a bill from his plumber.

Man: "$150 an hour! I'm a lawyer and even I don't make that much."

Plumber: "Yeah, I didn't make that much when I was a lawyer either."

- Brad Haugaard

Former Monrovia High Teacher Honored by Citrus College

Citrus College has awarded former Monrovia High teacher Sal Medina the honorary title of Distinguished Alumni for 2019, one of two people to receive the honor.

Medina graduated from Citrus in 1995, went on to the University of La Verne where he earned his bachelor's degree in political science (1998) and master's degree in education (2000), then accpeted a position as a political science teacher at Monrovia High School, where he was known for his engaging style and ability to motivate students. In addition to teaching, he coached the girls' volleyball team and served as adviser to the Key Club.

In 2007 he launched his own business: Packing House Wines. In its first year, Packing House Wines was recognized as the Claremont Chamber of Commerce "Business of the Year." Since then, it has developed from a small boutique to a full-sized wine bar and restaurant located in the Claremont Packing House.

Source: Citrus College press release

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Instructor Featured on Radio

Monrovia Unified School District's Director of Performing Arts, Patrick Garcia, was featured on California School News Radio.

Garcia discusses Monrovia Days, a three-day civic celebration that highlighted the district’s visual and performing arts programs. Listen on iTunes.

Source: Monrovia Schools press release

- Brad Haugaard

Cheers for Monrovia Schools' Parade Participants

Hundreds of Monrovia community members cheered as students from Monrovia Unified School District performed with their school bands and rode bikes, unicycles, and floats while dressed in spirit gear on May 18 during the Monrovia Days community festival parade.

The three-day festival was hosted by the District, the City of Monrovia, Centre Stage, and the Volunteer Center of San Gabriel Valley. The event featured entertainment by Monrovia scholars, food, games, and carnival rides.

"I am really proud to have performed during the Monrovia Days celebration," said Rhianne Weir, eighth-grader from Santa Fe Computer Science Magnet School. "I am happy to have shown the community all of the great things our band teacher, Tony Ellis, has taught us."

Guests enjoyed performances from Santa Fe's advanced band, Clifton Middle School's band, Monrovia High School's marching band, as well as Centre Stage, a theater company that includes many Monrovia Unified scholars.

"Monrovia Days is a celebration of the great things happening in our community and in our District," Board President Ed Gililland said. "It is a delight to see our students embrace this celebration and show their school pride."

In addition to the performances, the District showcased award-winning programs at a series of information booths, including robotics and performing arts.

"Monrovia Days is yet another event that distinguishes Monrovia from other cities," Superintendent Katherine Thorossian said. "We come together to celebrate the City's birthday and showcase the many unique opportunities afforded through our schools."

Source: Monrovia Schools press release

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Unified Offers Students Alternative, Tuition-free Independent Study

Mountain Park School, a K-12 tuition-free Independent Study School option provided by Monrovia Unified School District, offers flexibility to non-traditional students – some of whom are pursuing professional careers in acting or athletics.

Mountain Park exposes students to career pathways, extra-curricular programs, and early college opportunities that exist at Monrovia High School to help with college and career preparation. The school has a full curriculum that meets college admission requirements, is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, and approved by the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

“Our unique program provides solutions to the common concerns parents have about independent study such as cost, socialization, and college admittance,” Director of Alternative Schools Flint Fertig said. “At Mountain Park School, we are able to address our students’ needs and ensure they are successfully reaching their academic goals.”

The school’s highly-qualified teachers monitor student progress and meet with students weekly to provide on-campus instruction in subjects ranging from math and science to Spanish, drama, and video production. Electives, athletics, and clubs not offered on site – such as band, jazz ensemble, theater, computer coding, robotics, business clubs, and student government – can be taken at Monrovia High School.

“At Monrovia Unified, we strive to ensure all of our students have access to an educational path that works for them,” Board President Ed Gililland said. “Through Mountain Park School, we provide a window of opportunity for students who need a more flexible schedule to accommodate careers, family commitments, athletics, and other needs while in school.”

Mountain Park students include those who balance school with professional acting and athletic schedules, offering flexible options that allow accelerated learning or learning in a more intimate environment than a traditional classroom. For more information, visit:

“Monrovia Unified is proud to provide our students with innovative and challenging academic opportunities and offering an alternative to our comprehensive campuses,” Superintendent Katherine Thorossian said. “The team at Mountain Park School is dedicated to student academic and personal success.”

Source: Monrovia Schools press release

- Brad Haugaard