Braden Bishop, teacher and Sports Information Director at Tupelo High School
By Dillon Mullan
In November of 2009, Tupelo High Principal Mac Curlee called a staff meeting to say he was retiring in the middle of the school year. The announcement was newly hired teacher Braden Bishop and his newly created Tupelo High Twitter account’s first big story. As he exited the meeting, Bishop tweeted to break the news to the Daily Journal and other local outlets.
“The account started as this rinky dink thing where I was literally just taking the information from different posters and flyers around the school and putting them into a digital format,” Bishop said. “I had no idea it would turn into such a big deal, but then it started picking up steam. when I started promoting different aspects of the school I sort of thought ‘how can this not work?’.”
Now, as he enters his 10th year at the school and sixth as its sports information director, Bishop has the Tupelo High account pushing 7,000 followers. He shares sports scores and announces awards. When winter weather threatens to cancel school, thousands of local teenagers refresh his account for definitive word.
Beyond social media, Bishop has been quick to explore other technologies. In 2013, he purchased a drone to fly high above the school for aerial pictures of campus.
“This was still when drones were seen as this unknown gadget instead of a common toy like they are today,” Bishop said. “I just remember thinking ‘hey, this is a cool technology, why not take advantage of it?'”
In addition to running lives streams of football and basketball games, Bishop teaches a broadcast journalism class. Every Friday, his students release a 10-minute video with school news, weather and sports. Students practice script writing, public speaking, video editing and collaboration. Already, two of his former students have interned with the SEC Network.
Bishop’s wife Laurie teaches environmental science and coaches volleyball at Tupelo High. Before every tweet, aerial shot or video is published, she gets the chance to be her husband’s editor in chief.
“She is my critical sandpaper to make sure everything runs smooth,” Bishop said. “I’d rather not tweet something until she can tell me I won’t sound stupid.”