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Faith brings retired educator back to school

Aug. 16, 2010 at 3:16 a.m.

Debbi Michalski,  recently retired after 23 years with the Victoria school district, but is now back on the school scene. Michalski, 54, will be the  new assistant principal, dean  of students and campus minister at St. Joseph High  School starting Monday.

ABOUT DEBBIE MICHALSKITitle: Assistant principal, dean of students and campus minister

Age: 54

Born: Port Lavaca

Education: Victoria College, Southwest Texas State University and University of Houston-Victoria

Years in education: 23, most recently at Chandler Elementary School for eight years

Her faith: Member of Holy Family Catholic Church in Victoria for 27 years

Advice to first-time educators: "Take time to get to know your students, and build a positive relationship with them at school."

Quote to live by: "To whom much is given, much is expected..."

Debbie Michalski is back on the education scene just months after retirement.

The 23-year Victoria educator decided to return on the scene for one reason: her faith.

"Students are very inspiring, and watching them grow in their faith helps me to grow in mine as well," she said.

Michalski, 54, will be the new assistant principal, dean of students and campus minister at St. Joseph High School starting Monday.

"I feel like in my life I have been given a lot of opportunities, and now it's my time to give back through my faith and through my church," she said.

Faith and education are one and the same passion for Michalski who's always wanted to teach in a Catholic school.

The close-knit, faith-based environment allows her to help students in a more spiritual capacity, she said.

"You can help the students in a different way," she said. "It's exciting to be able to pray with the students. To be able to listen to them pray together."

Education for Michalski has been a life-long calling.

"From first grade, I decided that's what I was going to do," she said, recalling "playing school" during the summer with childhood friends. "Of course I was always the teacher," she said, smiling.

Days before the first day of school, Michalski has already met many of her students through leadership events, many of whom she already knew from her years as an elementary principal in the district.

"As an educator, her students truly love her," said school president William McArdle. "She made a huge impression with our students right away."

But after years in education, Michalski believes there's still more to be done.

"I'm still not done," she said. "I don't know what the future holds, but as long as I enjoy working with students and working with their families, I want to keep working in school."



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