Central Valley High School’s “Kindness Week” culminated on March 25 with Social Science teacher Richard Mickelson recognized on campus in front of students, staff and family.
Mickelson, 36, was crowned “Kindness King” by past winner/campus supervisor John Thompson during lunchtime in the school amphitheater. Wife Brooke and five-year-old son Jack attended.
“It was a total surprise,” he said. “I was asked to go to the office and they revealed the video. My wife knew ahead of time and kept it a secret. I didn’t expect her and our son to be a part of the celebration. It was special. I felt appreciated. Sometimes, you don’t know the impact you’re making.”
The Kindness award was established three years ago to recognize staff members on the basis of their kindness displayed on campus and how supportive they are to students.
“He’s a great choice,” said Central Valley Principal Carol Lubinsky. “He treats people respectfully. He has high expectations of kids. His class is a fun place to be. When I stop by and visit, I don’t want to leave. It’s a great learning environment.”
Mickelson said that “everyone on campus is really deserving,” adding “it could have gone to anyone.”
Mickelson began his teaching career at Central Valley 10 years ago. He currently teaches AP U.S History to juniors and World History to sophomores.
Mickelson has an open door policy for his classroom before and after school so students can come in to talk.
“I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. I enjoy being around people and kids. I work hard. I am who I am and the kids see that. I do care about my students. I try to do everything I can to get them engaged. I’m always high energy. My attempts at humor are a part of my approach. They tend to laugh at me, not with me.”
Mickelson grew up a mile from where Central Valley High School would later be constructed so he graduated inside from Ceres High School in 2003. He previously attended Don Pedro Elementary School.