Hamilton High School math teacher Abigail Bramlett isn't from Hamilton. In fact, she didn't know much about Michigan until college, where she attended Hope College to study education. While studying, she found a student teaching placement at Hamilton High School under Abby Ekkens and Becky Bierschbach. Immediately, she knew it was a special place.

"Student teaching here was better than I could have ever expected," Bramlett said. "I was absolutely thrilled with both of my mentors, they were super encouraging and welcoming and got to know me really well."

Perhaps most importantly, Bramlett got an outstanding hands-on experience and was able to develop connections with the students, much like the rest of the staff at Hamilton High School.

"I was really impressed with how much the students respected their teachers, and me but also had fun and shared stories. It felt like there was more than just learning happening, there were actual connections and I wanted to be a part of that."

However, after her college graduation, Bramlett moved to Phoenix, Arizona and took a teaching job thinking she wanted to get out of the Midwest. Quickly, she realized she wanted to return, specifically to Hamilton.

"The second that this job got posted I knew I was going to apply, I definitely missed the school and community," she added.

Since being hired and getting to know the rest of her colleagues even better, Bramlett has seen the district through a new lens.

"The staff here is really unique in that there's intentionality and they want to get to know you and make sure you're successful, which is so important."

Another thing at Hamilton High School is the lack of turnover among staff members, which Bramlett has quickly noticed. The long-serving veteran coworkers have had a major impact on her and her outlook in her career.

"I have definitely been inspired by the commitment from staff," she added. "Seeing the impact on the staff who have been here for 20 or 30 years, I want to have that same impact on students and on the community, I definitely think in the next ten years, I'm planning on sticking around if I can."