Technology director leaves his mark with District 911 schools

Bruce Anderson
Bruce Anderson

For Bruce Anderson, retiring from the Cambridge-Isanti School District is something he embraces just as much as he has the time he spent in a continuous learning role.

Over the course of 31 years, Anderson has affected the lives of hundreds of students and played a vital role in developing technology in District 911 Schools. He did this first as an industrial arts teacher at the high school for over 20 years and later as the district’s technology director for the past eight years.

Anderson will retire at the end of June and he reflects on his career with satisfaction and a sense of reward.

“You kind of look back and you think is this really what I should of done; we have opportunities that sometimes we take and sometimes we don’t,” Anderson said. “I can’t think of any other place I would have wanted to spend my career.”

Anderson joined the district after graduating from the University Minnesota with a degree in industrial arts education and then teaching two years at Anoka Hennepin.

“My dad was a printer, and so my passion when I came out of college was teaching, of course, but there was the graphic arts; (I got to) take advantage of both of them,” Anderson said as he reflected on his multiple roles as a photography and printing teacher and technology coordinator.

He remembers the early years as something that taught him to appreciate the importance of a community. He discovered that students enjoyed spending time in the classroom and that connections with people are meaningful.

“We have teachers here whom the students find and need; I think that is what makes the school a true community, and that’s what’s important,” he said. “It’s good for us as teachers, but it’s really what those students need, and it’s the teachers that make that happen, and I think that Cambridge-Isanti just has the right people here so that there’s something for everyone.”

The demand for personal computers and how they were being integrated into schools is more than just a memory for Anderson, who provided leadership to learn new technology and took advantage of programs that taught students how to work with technology.

Cambridge-Isanti High School was one of the first high schools to be accepted into the Cisco Networking Academy that provided training on how “invisible” technology works and computer networking. Anderson underwent the necessary training so he could share this technology with students.

He credits former Cambridge-Isanti High School Principal, Craig Paulson, with being a person who had profound influence on his career and the access students gained to technology.

“There was the encouragement,” Anderson said. “The freedom and flexibility to bring the high school to a certain level of technology, and he enabled that.”

One of Anderson’s most fulfilling aspects of his career was starting projects and seeing how successful they were in design. His most current project, EXCITE, or Exemplary Technology for Everyone, is about providing wireless Internet access to the district’s schools that will support student learning and further foster teaching using technology.

With his wife retiring in May of next year, Anderson looks forward to traveling and keeping his technology knowledge up-to-date through volunteer efforts where he can continue his passion for the ever-evolving technology that defines the 21st century.

“You know what’s going to be great: fall motorcycle trips. This will the first time since I was 5 that I don’t start school in September,” Anderson said. “How marvelous is that going to be?”

While Anderson enjoys running into former students and is grateful for the connections he has made in the community, he is ready to give up his 30-mile commute from his home in Ham Lake to enjoy his retirement.

He also knows he is not the last to leave a mark on a community that he has a strong appreciation for.

“The people who make up the Cambridge-Isanti community makes us unique, and I was glad to be a part of it, and it will continue,” said Anderson.