HUNTERSVILLE – Bradley Middle School Principal Steve Esposito is building the foundation of his new position on communication.

Esposito began his new post as Bradley Middle’s principal July 8.

Placing emphasis on creating lines of communication between him and the community, Esposito updated the school’s web page with information about his family and career background along with an entry plan for his first months as principal.

It’s an effort to be open and approachable, Esposito said.

The four goals outlined in his entry plan are relationship-based so that interaction with faculty, staff and students, Esposito can gain insight on the school’s history and what’s been working before making changes, he explained.

“It’s really trying to have a full understanding of what’s going on,” he said.

As the school’s ninth principal in 15 years, communication and understanding of the school’s history is “tremendously important,” Assistant Principal Missy Gabriel said.

Gabriel, who will start her 16th year at Bradley Middle this fall, described the staff as tremendous, hardworking and resilient, but “they do need someone to lead the ship.”

The school isn’t in need of any one leadership style but of consistency, she said, adding that Esposito’s entry plan has allowed him to open communication, gain understanding and build trust.

“Things that we have seen so far really do seem to indicate that’s where his heart is,” Gabriel said.

The Chicago native has lived in the Charlotte area for 19 years and started his career with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools as a fourth-grade teacher at Elizabeth Lane Elementary School in 2002. He served as assistant principal at Lake Wylie Elementary and River Gate Elementary, before becoming principal at Highland Creek Elementary in 2010, where the increase in student test scores under his leadership earned the school recognition as a North Carolina Honor School of Excellence.

He maximized teacher output and student achievement while at Highland Creek Elementary, Dean of Students J.R. Beavers said.

“I probably worked harder than I had worked in years past (under Esposito),” he said. “The effort and workload resulted in positive results for our school.”

Beavers commented that Esposito would always invite parents and community members into the school often to have face-to-face communication.

“He kept everybody in the loop on pretty much everything,” Beavers said.

Esposito said he plans to use his experience at the elementary-school level to bring a fresh understanding to his middle-school position.

“As an elementary school principal, you are able to work so closely with teachers in regards to teaching and learning so what I’m excited about is bringing a nice curriculum expertise and understanding of what good teaching and learning looks like in schools and being able to apply that to a middle school,” Esposito said.

Esposito said he expects to face challenges making the switch but believes that tackling them with a team-approach – using his school leadership team, parent-teacher association and colleagues – any challenge can be overcome.

“While the principalship can look like a very lonely job, what most good principals do is make it a position where you’re sharing ideas and using your colleagues,” he added.

Esposito, his wife and two children – they have a third due in August – will continue to live in Matthews.

“I’m very excited about becoming the principal at Bradley and do feel as though it is an honor to take over a school that’s doing so well and that does have such a great reputation in the community,” he said.