In an interesting turn of events, a California elementary school janitor steered his life in another direction by becoming the same school’s principal. One day, he was mopping the floors. The next, he was sitting in the meeting room with other teachers.
Not everyone comes out with an unforgettable lesson when life puts people in a difficult situation. Some people don’t have to courage to go against all odds and do what they think is right. Meanwhile, others step out of their comfort zone to achieve their goals.
The man in today’s story shared his career struggles. He had spent 12 years of his life working as a janitor when suddenly, he decided to take up another role in the same school. He wanted to become a teacher.
Mike Huss. | Source: Facebook.com/KCRA 3
The Janitor Everyone Loved
When Mike Huss’s grade seven teacher told him he would grow up to become an educator, he laughed it off. The little boy had no plans of following in his teachers’ footsteps, and decades later, he became the principal of the same school he had graduated from.
After graduating from school, Huss never went to college. Instead, he worked at his school, Ione Elementary in Ione, California, as a janitor to pay his wife’s college fees. He never had the passion for becoming a teacher or taking up another job in the same school.
However, the school staff always pushed him to work with the students because they saw the kids connect with him. Huss recalled that first-graders would often hug him and appreciate his work. It never made sense to him why they did that, but his coworkers knew he had to become a teacher.
“You need to go back and become a teacher,” the teachers at Ione Elementary would often tell him. Meanwhile, Huss didn’t feel motivated to switch careers. He felt content working as a janitor because he never wanted to get a degree.
However, things took a different turn when Huss and his wife, Karen, had a child. When his son turned three, Huss decided to take a leap of faith and go back to college to pursue his higher studies. He said:
“I wanted to show my young son that if your dad can do this, if your dad can be the school janitor [while] coaching youth sports, maintain a good grade point average, and become a school teacher, you can accomplish anything in this life.”
Mike Huss with a student. | Source: Facebook.com/KCRA 3
During the four years Huss spent at college, he worked full-time as a janitor and coached his niece’s softball team, besides being a father and a husband. He would go to college during the day and work in the evening.
Within a week after graduating, Huss landed a job as a teacher at Ione Elementary school. He recalled that he was working double shifts as a janitor on a Monday, and the following morning, he was sitting in the boardroom with other teachers.
Working with children taught Huss that teaching was a “rewarding career.” He urged others to support teachers to make this world a better place. Huss taught his students for the past nineteen years before another great opportunity suddenly knocked on his door.
Mike Huss with his students. | Source: Facebook.com/KCRA 3
A New Opportunity
While Huss was enjoying teaching elementary students, the school’s management told him they needed his service for a greater cause. The Ione Elementary School wanted Huss to become the principal. They said:
“We think you are the leader the school needs.”
Thinking about sitting in the principal’s chair sent a shiver down Huss’s spine. He had never imagined taking up such a significant role, but he couldn’t say no because of his students. He was ready to do everything for their sake.
From Janitor to Principal
To many people, Huss’s journey might seem surreal. As a child, Huss had never imagined he would sit in the principal’s office of his school decades later. It took a lot of hard work and determination to reach where he is today.
When Huss got promoted from elementary teacher to principal, his students were confused. They weren’t used to seeing their favorite teacher work on a desk. Every hour, one of the students would come into the office and ask the administrator, “Is Mr. Huss busy?”
The office administrator, Melanie Cortez, said she had to explain to the students that their favorite teacher was busy replying to emails and looking after the “important stuff.” Meanwhile, Huss expressed his gratitude during an interview:
“I am blessed. I truly am, and I don’t do anything special. I just show up and work hard. I show up and try my best.”
Every day, Huss wakes up and goes to school because he wants to teach his students to believe in themselves. He had set an example for them by going from a janitor to a principal and thought his students could achieve much greater things in life.
Share this story with your friends and family to tell them about Huss’s amazing journey. It might motivate someone to step out of their comfort zone and achieve their goals instead of only thinking about them.