Photo by Cory Wyman ’16 | Mr. Bopp talks with a student about the feasibility of his project, Tuesday April 26. Mr. Bopp will be leaving Brophy at the end of this year after 11 years as a staff member at the school.
By Tyler Conrad ’17
Assistant Principal for Technology and Instruction Mr. Jim Bopp will depart this summer for a new job as the principal of Creighton Preparatory in Omaha, Neb.
Mr. Bopp first came to Brophy 11 years ago as a physics teacher, and became the science department chair his second year. He was one of the first teachers to pilot the one-to-one computer program that has been the norm for the past decade.
“One of the things that attracted me to Brophy was that Brophy was one of the first schools to adapt to the one-to-one program across the nation, and definitely in Arizona,” Mr. Bopp said.
This first step of emergence into the world of tech and computers was only the beginning for Brophy.
“It was a sign to me of a school that was really interested in innovating,” Mr. Bopp said.
Mr. Bopp eventually became the dean of students and kept this position for four years. Despite missing physics classroom interactions, technology experiments and further innovations, Mr. Bopp said he greatly enjoyed his time as dean and the associations that came with it.
“One of the most important things about Jesuit schools is that we are not just providing an education; we are providing a formation,” Mr. Bopp said. “Being a dean gives you a unique opportunity to work with students on that.”
Outside of just telling students to get haircuts and giving JUGs for being late to class, Mr. Bopp said during his time as dean he met and formed relationships with students that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.
“I actually have students who were asked to leave Brophy who I have kept in touch with and meet with regularly,” Mr. Bopp said.
Now, Mr. Bopp serves as the assistant principal for technology and instruction. Some trademarks of his position include developing student use of programs such as Membean and MathXL, instructing a freshman Introduction to Innovative Technologies course, and monitoring student use of the Innovation Commons.
“This is exactly what I was hoping to do: create a space like this and offer opportunities like this to students,” Mr. Bopp said of the Innovation Commons.
One of these particular students is Xander Gomez ’17 who said he discovered a passion for computer aided drafting by spending time in the Commons. This passion has gained him employment outside of the school. Additionally, he is designing the finals for the roof of the upcoming gym.
“The stuff that he’s created both artistically and technically is dumbfounding to me,” Mr. Bopp said of Gomez’s work.
Now, at “the pinnacle of his career,” Mr. Bopp has been offered a position at Creighton Prep.
“Part of this whole Jesuit idea is that you go where there are needs,” Mr. Bopp said of his move. “The international [Jesuit] network only grows if people are free to move around and spread their expertise.”
Even if Mr. Bopp’s departure seems timely, it is still bittersweet to the entirety of the Brophy community, specifically Principal Mr. Bob Ryan.
“I couldn’t help but lament the impact of his departure here at Brophy,” Mr. Ryan said. “He’s been a close confidant and a friend to me, but I know that he’ll make a significant impact at Creighton Prep, so I wish him nothing but the best.”
Mr. Bopp has witnessed the principal position through this friendship with Mr. Ryan, and understands what the future holds.
“I’ve been able to see on a day-to-day basis what a principal’s job is really like; how demanding it is, but how rewarding it can be,” he said.
Approaching his new journey at Creighton Prep, Mr. Bopp said he is reminded of the Jesuit spirituality that binds these communities together.
“Ultimately, it’s about making a difference and using your skills and gifts for the community,” Mr. Bopp said.