Bruce Koenen

Bruce Koenen 2019 and 1987

Mr. Koenen is retiring as a Mathematics Teacher at Rockford High School.
Thank you for 34 Years!

>> Learn more about Mr. Koenen!

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Mankato and graduated from Mankato East in 1980.W

Where did you attend college?
I then went to Mankato State and graduated in 1985. I also received my Masters of Math Education through the University of Minnesota in 1995.

Did you always want to be a teacher?
I thought about being a meteorologist and I did go to Iowa State for a semester but it did not work out. My father was a professor at Mankato State and I received a quarter per year of free tuition so it was a pretty easy decision to go back to Mankato. My father was the biggest influence in becoming a teacher. He was an educational psychologist and received his doctorate from the University of Iowa so I was always around a school growing up. In fact when I was in elementary school I had to take these standardized intelligent test in front of my dad’s graduate students. Very intimidating!! I also wanted to coach and loved math in school so becoming a teacher was a great fit for me.

How many years have you been a teacher?
This was and still is my first teaching job at Rockford and I have been here for 34 years. WOW it does not seem that long ago.

I have been married to my wife Wendy whom I met at Mankato State (another reason I was meant to go back to Mankato State) for 32 years. We have two children Brad who is 29 and married to Toni (Larson) both graduates of RHS. They live in Loretto and have a son Cameron (18 months) who is constantly spoiled by his grandparents.  Our daughter Emily lives in Sioux Falls SD and is engaged to be married next April to Neal Kramer who she met at her first job.

What do you look most forward to everyday at Rockford?
The one thing I look forward to each day is trying to help students understand the value of an education. Students don’t always understand why they have to study all the different disciplines but I try to tell them it will help them in the long run to learn how to learn. You will constantly be learning throughout your lifetime and you cannot succeed without putting forward effort. One of my favorite quotes is “The easiest thing in life to do is to quit.”

What is one of your most memorable moments as a teacher?
My fondest memories are all the letters or emails I get from former students telling me what effect I had on their lives. I have a poster board in my room that I pin all the letters I have gotten throughout the years. It is the reason I went into teaching and it is something I will always cherish.

What advice would you give a new teacher?
My advise to new teachers is to be who you are and not try to be someone else. When you close the door in your class do your best and try to be fair to each one of your students. I think the one thing I will miss the most is the people I work with. We have a great staff at RHS.W

What are your plans when you retire?
Don’t worry I will still be around. I will do the clock at the football games and probably be at several basketball games in the winter. I still might even coach boys golf next spring. I have been doing it for 20 years. I might even do some subbing for the math department at RHS. Otherwise, I will be doing a lot of hunting next fall with my new black lab Olive.


Retirees from past years