Micheau takes assistant principal role at Escanaba
ESCANABA — Escanaba High School Assistant Principal Jason Micheau is looking forward to the upcoming school year. Micheau was named assistant principal in June. Before that, he was a teacher for 20 years in Escanaba and assisted in coaching football.
“This just feels like a natural fit,” said Micheau. “I know many of the current eighth through 12 grade students by previously teaching them in class.”
During the last school year in the high school, Micheau taught classes in the morning and helped with discipline in the afternoon. By doing that, he has already learned a part of the job. The staff know him and Micheau thinks the job move should be a smooth transition from teacher to administrator.
In 1991, he graduated from Gladstone High School, where he has lived the majority of his life. Both of Micheau’s parents worked in the Delta-Schoolcraft Intermediate School District — his mother a secretary and father an administrator. Early in life, Micheau knew he wanted to coach and work with kids by watching his parents — he was not going to sit down and crunch numbers in an office somewhere.
“I need to be out talking with people and doing things,” said Micheau. “I believe if you find a job you love you will never work a day in your life. I have found that job. Over 20 years of being a teacher I have probably had 20 days where it seemed like work.”
Micheau attended Bay de Noc Community College and transferred to Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Mich. In 1996 he graduated from WMU with a science and social studies background and started working as a substitute teacher. Micheau was hired in 1999 as a sixth grade teacher at Webster Elementary School. Two years later, Micheau left Webster to teach seventh grade science and math. For the last two years, he has taught eighth grade science.
Besides teaching, he has assisted in coaching junior high, junior varsity, and varsity football, plus a bit of basketball.
“The dynamics of the small town rivalry are so different,” said Micheau. “When I got hired in Escanaba, all my Gladstone friends asked me, ‘how could you go work for the orange and black?'”
The first few years Micheau worked for Escanaba, he assisted coaching football in Gladstone with coach John Mileski. When Mileski resigned in 2011, Micheau thought he would try out for the position.
“I thought to myself, ‘I could do that’, but wondered how I could, battling between Escanaba and Gladstone all the time,” said Micheau.
Micheau credits Mileski with giving him the best advice he could have heard at that time.
“Mileski said, ‘Jason, kids are kids, it doesn’t matter what shirts they wear for colors, you’re gonna do well coaching’,” he said.
Micheau enjoys the relationships he has built with kids outside the classroom through sports.
“The rapport with students outside the classroom goes miles in the discipline aspect of what my job is going to be. It’s not all discipline,” said Micheau.
Micheau plans to keep the smaller issues off Senior High School Principal Darci Griebel’s plate, letting her focus more on curriculum and bigger issues. Some of the work Micheau will be doing involves teacher evaluations, coordinating instructional efforts, and assisting with a variety of other logistical tasks that come with running a high school. He will also assist in moving programs along, like the Leader in Me program. Micheau says he doesn’t know all the ins and outs of all the programs at this time, but he is getting up to speed quickly. He is currently taking courses online from the University of Washington and had training last spring about a program called — Handle With Care: Crisis Intervention and Behavior Management Training.
“It’s a new way to deal with combative students,” said Micheau. “I’ve been looking a lot more at the student handbook and becoming more familiar with the rule expectations,” said Micheau.
Within the week, Micheau will check the progress of summer school students and make sure they are not falling behind. Some students take courses online to graduate with their peers. Micheau enjoys guiding kids on a path toward being successful in school and in their futures. When asked what his goals were, Micheau expressed how he wants to help students be successful.
“I want to help students and their families have a great experience in Escanaba, to get the most out of what they can here, and to realize success,” said Micheau. “The dynamics of teenage lives have changed since I went to school, good and bad. I want to help some students become successful for the first time then say, ‘hey you can do it’ … you gotta lift them up and help them realize that they’ve got things they can do in life.”
Micheau’s wife, Angie, works as a teacher in Gwinn. Together they have two children who are both attending school in Gladstone. Micheau jokes that he thinks his children are both happy that he’s not working in the same district they are going to school.
Escanaba Superintendent Coby Fletcher said Micheau was chosen because he is well-respected by students and his colleagues.