Mary DeBroux retires from public education – The Mountain-Ear
Sara Sandstrom-Kobi, Nederland. In every school there is always a few people who really make things happen. Usually no one is aware of all the tasks they take on and accomplish. They are in contact with so many people each day and their patient energy and positive attitude affect the entire building.
Nederland Middle Senior High School (NMSHS) is saying goodbye to one of these people. Mary DeBroux is retiring after nine years as the School Office Manager and Principal’s Assistant. This job title really should say that the person in this position does anything and everything that needs to be done in the school.
Mary spent her entire career in public education. When her youngest son started Kindergarten she started working for the Merrill Area Public Schools in Merrill, Wisconsin. During her 24 years with Merrill schools she was a special education paraprofessional, principal’s assistant and assistant to the director of special education.
Then, her oldest son decided to pursue a career in mountain bike racing and road racing, and he moved to Boulder, Colorado. A few years later her youngest son who is a firefighter moved to Colorado. Mary and her husband Dwight followed their children and grandchildren. They bought a house not far from the NMSHS and Mary was soon working at the school.
Mary was known as the warm welcoming face when you came to NMSHS. For many people she seemed to effortlessly keep up with everything in the front office and in the school. Her calm presence was appreciated by all. Mary coordinated many events at the school from back to school nights to graduations with ease.
Mary says that the favorite part of the job was connecting with parents, students, and staff. She has loved being in a small school where you get to know the students by name.
She will miss the hustle and bustle that a school offers. She will miss the smiles of the students and staff. Mary says, “I truly loved working in a school.”
Her commitment and joy of working at NMSHS was obvious to her colleagues. NMSHS Principal Rick Elertson says, “Mary DeBroux is among the top 1% of all employees that I have worked with in my twenty years in education. Always quick to extend a hand to those in need, Mary has given 100% of her energy in the service of public education. Nothing is more important to an administrator than being able to count on others to execute their daily work at a high level. Mary exceeded those expectations every day and much more. Although she will no longer be my administrative assistant, she will always be my friend. I am a better person for having known Mary DeBroux.”
NMSHS Assistant Principal and Athletic Director Chuck Doudna says, “Congratulations Mary! Nederland Middle Senior High School has benefited greatly from your steadfast leadership, and you will be sorely missed. Students and staff never had a doubt they were in good hands when you were involved with the situation. Personally, I cannot thank you enough for welcoming me to NMSHS with open arms. Your patience was saint like as you repeatedly showed me the nuances of our school, as well as district procedures. Rest easy knowing you have greatly impacted countless lives over the years! Enjoy your time, family, and friends. Forever grateful!”
Mary says one of her favorite memories is when they had to put the school in lock-out because there were two baby moose on the middle level field. They were not sure where the mother was and the little ones were behind a sign that said, “No Pets Allowed”. Mary says that she is so appreciative to have worked at a mountain school. She added, “How many schools can say they had a lock-out because of baby moose?!”
Mary will now be able to spend more time with her family. And she plans to spend as much time as she can in our beautiful mountains.
As you hand in your keys and badge, Mary, know that your smile, kindness and expertise will be missed. You are leaving big shoes to fill. We thank you for putting your heart and soul into our community school. Your dedication and commitment to the betterment of our students will always be cherished.
(Originally published in the May 21, 2020, print edition of The Mountain-Ear.)