Talk about making the grade! Mike Huss was once a student at Ione Elementary School in California. After graduating high school, Huss became one of the school’s janitors. And now? To everyone’s delight and surprise – not least of all his own – he recently became the school principal.
Growing up, Huss says, he never saw himself in education. However, his peers and family believed otherwise, seeing something in him that even he didn’t recognize.
While he was the school’s janitor, his coworkers, friends and family saw how he interacted with the kids and encouraged him to get his teaching degree. And he went for it.
Huss said teachers at Ione were the ones who first encouraged him to pursue a teaching career.
Why The Elementary School Chose Him
“A lot of teachers here at Ione Elementary kept saying, ‘You’re wasting your time. Look at these kids. They are attracted to you … and they want to be around you and they learn from you. You need to become a teacher,” Huss recalled.
Huss became a working dad, juggling his full-time job with family and school for four years. “I wanted to show my son that if his dad can be the school janitor and maintain a good grade point average and become a schoolteacher, you can accomplish anything in this life,” Huss says. Those efforts paid off quickly. After getting his teaching degree, he received an offer to teach at Ione in less than a week.
“I was the school janitor on Monday. I worked a double shift getting the school ready, from 6am until 10pm. The very next day, Tuesday, I was in my first teachers’ meeting. Thursday of that same week, I had my first class,” he said.
Huss was looking forward to teaching the 5th-grade class this year when he got the offer to be the school’s principal.
According to Huss, “They reached out to me and said, ‘We think you’re the leader the school needs’. That was very humbling. It brings chills just to say it,” Huss recalls.
Though Huss has only been principal for a few months, he has a lot of support from his school district, his school staff and – most delightfully – the 500+ young students of the school.
He laughs, “They give me hugs and say, ‘You’re doing a great job!’ It’s really cute to see a first-grader tell you that. ‘You don’t even know what I’m doing. But thank you very much for saying it.’ But they see me out and interacting, so I think to them, that’s all that matters,” Huss said.
Finding Your “Why”
Huss found his “why” when he wanted to show his son that anything is possible. He wanted to give his loved one inspiration. You can give your family something just as important – peace of mind and long-term financial security.