True Life: Brad Tennant


“It’s funny, 35 years ago I moved to Kansas from Seattle and I thought it was the worst thing in the world,” Brad Tennant, math teacher, said.

Tennant was born in Redmond, Washington in 1959 and lived in the ‘Emerald City’ into his teen years. In high school, back in Seattle, Tennant enjoyed participating in sports such as cross-country and football. His high school had several budget cuts and wasn’t able to maintain their teams very well, in fact his cross-country coach was a volunteer and sometimes had prior engagements causing practices to be canceled from time to time.

Then everything changed in the midst of Tennant’s sophomore year of high school. His father got promoted to a business manager position, which required him to move to Kansas.

“It was kind of the reverse of Dorothy and Toto because Seattle is the Emerald City and I was going to Kansas,” Tennant said.

Once in Kansas, he attended Shawnee Mission Northwest. He was shocked by how many teams they had for each sport: Junior Varsity, Varsity, and two sophomore teams. However, the season had already begun when Tennant joined the school, so he wasn’t able to play football his sophomore year, but did his two remaining years.

Not only was Tennant a jock of sorts, he was an incredible student, a National Merit Scholar. He always wanted to be a teacher, but what to teach he was unsure.

“At Northwest I told my counselor I wanted to be a teacher and they pushed me in a different direction,” Tennant said.

With his ample intelligence, his counselor thought that perhaps he was suited to do something a little more than teaching. So, when Tennant attended Kansas University, he went pre-med. Though he was a dedicated student, Tennant didn’t feel that he had academic direction. He changed his major several times, from pre-med to business, to computer science.

Nonetheless, not all of Tennant’s college years were erratic. He was a resident assistant at Naismith on campus, a private dorm named after James Naismith. After one year of resident assisting, he was asked to be a resident director. This was how a 21-year-old Tennant met his wife Debbie Seusy, a resident assistant. It was frowned upon to date assistants as a director, but they didn’t marry for another 18 years.

Once Tennant graduated he began his first job, selling expensive operating room equipment to hospitals, he did this for ten years. Then he embarked on a new business venture that involved an old passion of his, construction. He began to design custom homes, two of which made it into Architectural Digest; he did this for four years. He later went back to school to finally get his teaching degree.

Nowadays, an average day for Tennant consists of making a 45-minute commute from his home in Baldwin City. He packs up the van drops six-year-old Duncan off at kindergarten, ten-year-old Ann at Trailwood and Debbie at the Sprint campus, then heads to school for a full day of teaching. Tennant usually leaves for home around three, but not during the fall; he is an assistant coach for the cross-country team during its season.

Though his free time is a little bogged down by his children’s schedules, he still enjoys his old passions. For example, his home in Baldwin was originally built in 1900, which gives Tennant the opportunity to build to his heart’s desire. He has done a lot of work on his home, both inside and outside. Though Tennant cherishes his home, he is planning on moving by the beginning of next year, at the latest, in order to be closer to his school and his children’s schools and activities.

Altogether Tennant didn’t quite plan for his life to turn out this way, but his true life is a life he loves.