It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish, and a former elementary school janitor turned principal is out to prove that.
Once upon a time, a man by the name of Mike Huss was a student at Ione Elementary in a small city around 41 miles southeast of Sacramento.
As he got older, he fulfilled the role of the school’s janitor, where he learned to connect with the students and build bonds that he never expected.
“A lot of teachers here at Ione Elementary kept saying, ‘You’re wasting your time. Look at these kids. They [look up] to you … and they want to be around you and they learn from you. You need to go back and become a teacher,'” Huss told Kake.
Life momentarily went on for him, he chose to not reach for higher education, so his wife Kate could attend college. Down the line he got married and had his first child…this is where he had a change of heart.
“When my son was about 3, I said, ‘You know what? I want to show my son that you can keep growing in life,'” Huss recalled.
“I know he was young but between the encouragement from the teachers on campus and the motivation to do something to show my son [that] nothing’s impossible, I went back to school in the late ’90s to get my teaching credential based on those inspirations.”
Huss worked harder than he had in his entire life, he worked shift after shift, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., all the while balancing being a dad and going to school.
After he graduated, it only took less than a week for him to get a teaching job at Ione Elementary where he continued to teach second and fifth grade for the next 19 years.
19 years had passed, and the man who started it all at Ione Elementary, was offered to be the principal. Huss was shocked, but knew he can do the job and get it done.
“I really think that I can do this job … because I have the support of everyone,” he said.
“I have to try my best every day for them. And at the end of the year, I’ve told many people if the worst thing I say is, ‘I tried my best and fell,’ I’ll try my best again next year and hopefully be even better. And I try to keep that perspective.”
Huss claims the students tell him he’s doing a great job, and he takes everything one day at a time to be the best he can be for his family and students.
“What I want people to understand is that there are really good teachers out there doing really amazing jobs,” he said.
“It’s just about growing a world, making it a better place.”
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