School janitor becomes principal of elementary school where he once worked: ‘I am blessed’

This is a real success story that will inspire you. Mike Huss used to work as a janitor at Ione Elementary School in Ione, California. Now, he is the principal of the school after years of hard work. 

The former school janitor-turned-teacher said he was so blessed for having such a rewarding career. He is also very excited to take on the challenges of being the new leader of the school.

“I am blessed. I truly am and I don’t do anything special. I just show up and try my best,” said Huss.

It has only been about a couple of weeks since Huss became principal but he’s already getting a lot of support from his school district, the school staff, and the students.

Janitor-turned-teacher with his student; a success story
Source: Mike Huss

According to him, the children give him hugs and tell him he’s doing great, which he finds very cute. He is happy that the students see him interacting and thank him, though they don’t exactly know what he’s doing.

What people don’t know is that Ione Elementary School has a special place in Huss’s heart. He went to this school as a young boy and was a teacher there for 19 years. However, before his career in teaching, he worked in the same school as a janitor.

He has always been good at connecting with students. They loved chatting with him while watching him clean.

When he had spare time, he would play soccer or basketball with students after school or during recess.

Principal Huss with a student
Source: Mike Huss

“They included me in their lives, they shared things with me and they treated me like a friend. It was really positive feedback that I would get from them, even then,” Huss said.

Seeing this, the teachers encouraged him to pursue a teaching career. “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 go back and become a teacher,'” the janitor-turned-teacher recalled.

Mike Huss's kindergarten ID
Source: Mike Huss

When he was working as a janitor, he didn’t really think of pursuing higher education. He’d rather work to support her wife’s education, which was in college at that time. Only when he had his son did he realize the importance of growth and he wanted to show it to him.

In the late 90s, he went back to school to attain his teaching credentials. He juggled his full-time job, studies, and family for four years.

“I was working 40 hours a week, coaching my niece’s softball team. I was going to school Tuesday and Thursday all day,” Huss said. His wife supported him a hundred percent and shared childcare duties with him.

Janitor-turned teacher becomes principal
Source: Mike Huss

After years of hard work and determination, Huss finished his degree in 2003 and got a job at Ione Elementary School just within a week of graduating. Since then, he became a constant figure in the school.

Huss finds teaching a very rewarding experience. For him, it’s important that the students grow up not just remembering the lessons but also how a teacher made them feel.

“You remember how much they cared. You also remember the ones that don’t care as well,” Huss said. “Teachers don’t realize they have that power. They impact a student’s life forever.”

Principal Huss with students
Source: Mike Huss

Huss shared that he was so excited to teach after Covid-19 and was prepared to teach to fifth grade. This is why he was shocked when they offered him the role of principal a week before the school year started.

Though Huss misses teaching, he is excited to assume new responsibilities and help improve the school. He still makes time to greet the students every day or visit them in class on their lunch break when he has the chance.

“I don’t want to be one of those one or two-year principals. I plan on staying for seven to 10 years if [the district] will let me,” Huss said. “I want to be present for the students.”

Principal Huss and his family
Source: Mike Huss

Huss believes that without others’ support, no one can be successful. “It’s really not about me.

It’s about all those people in this community that pushed me and supported me and believed in me all these years in every job I’ve had in the district. That is what kind of pushes me forward now,” Huss concluded.

To learn more about this success story, watch the video below:

 
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