2024 People’s Choice Awards Nominee for Daytime Talk Show
Jennifer Hudson Honors Inspirational School Janitor-Turned-Principal for Going Above and Beyond
October 03, 2022
A passionate school principal is getting the recognition he deserves after going above and beyond to help elementary students.
Mike Huss started his career as a janitor at Ione Elementary — the school he attended as a child — but was offered a teaching job when colleagues recognized his hard work.
Principal Huss sat down with JHud on “The Jennifer Hudson Show” and shared how his career pivot came about. He noted how he was working a double shift as a janitor on a Monday, at his first teachers meeting on a Tuesday, and teaching class on a Thursday — and that was just the beginning.
After years as a teacher, Mr. Huss spent hours preparing to teach the fifth grade over the summer but was offered the principal role a week before school resumed.
“My students are like my own children. I want to be there when they succeed and be there through their struggles,” he told Jennifer about the school where many of his own teachers still work. “My own two children say it feels like I have 500 brothers and sisters. I go on bike rides with them.”
To thank him for his dedication, Jennifer surprised Principal Huss with a vacation to Mexico! He received a six-day, five-night stay for two people at Garza Blanca Resort & Spa in Cancun, where he’ll stay in an ocean-view suite and dine on gourmet cuisine while relaxing poolside!
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Principal Huss didn’t know what he wanted to do when he was in his 20s, but now he has some advice for people struggling to find their passion. “My son was born in ’96. When he was 2 years old, I wanted to teach him, no matter what obstacles, don’t be afraid to go after your goals,” he said.
And in a surprise Zoom call, his students and co-workers had a touching message to share about Mr. Huss: “He’s had our back. He’s given us so many opportunities… He’s never not had our back.”
Sounds like someone who definitely deserves a vacation!