By Julia Shumaker

Starting his 11th year as a school psychologist, Michael Austin looks forward to getting to know the students and staff who come to his office. One of Austin’s prized possessions is a fifth edition of a children’s psychology book.

School Psychologist hopes to become acquainted with staff and students

Austin previously worked in Missouri and Kansas schools after attending college at Emporia State University

Mill Valley News: What is your background teaching, before you came to Mill Valley and how long have you been teaching or working in that field?

School psychologist  Michael Austin: This is probably my 11th year as a school psychologist. My undergraduate degree is from the University of Kansas in psychology in what used to be called human development family life, my graduate degree, the first one is from the University of Kansas in school psychology, and I just finished a master’s in educational administration at Emporia State University. I’ve worked preschool to high school licenses in Kansas, Missouri, and California. I’ve worked in Kansas City, Missouri, this is obviously my first year at Mill Valley in DeSoto.

MVN: What are some of your goals for the school?

MA: My first goal of course is to learn all there is to know about being in DeSoto and Mill Valley High School. [My] first impressions are I’m pretty impressed with the positivity with everyone, the staff, the students, the administrators. There is a very positive climate and that doesn’t seem to be fake, it seems to be real and genuine, so that’s kind of cool. I’m really impressed with that. I would hope to help you all as students, I won’t help every student, my primary role is to work with students to help them academically, socially, [and] emotionally, By whatever means necessary. Whether that’s evaluating students or evaluating teachers and so forth, my goals would be to do it successfully and hopefully have an impact. 

MVN: What are your goals outside of school? 

MA: Just to continue to be on top of my own field professionally. To be cognizant or aware of current issues and trends, we want to be aware of what’s going on with special education laws. We definitely want to be aware of what’s going on with the research going into different areas. 

MVN: What do you like to do outside of school? 

MA: We do a lot of work around the house, a lot of landscaping, and maintenance on the house; we bought the house not too long ago so we’re constantly doing stuff to improve the house. We just work on our house, so we like it better. Our dogs are all sheltered dogs, my wife is a dog whisperer. We tend to adopt senior dogs, so they’re pretty important to us, and we like to travel when we can but in the past year or so we’ve stayed away from that like everyone has. But [I am] excited to get back going again. I would really like to go back to the Grand Canyon again. It was phenomenal. We’re hoping to go to the Los Angeles area in the spring, and maybe next summer go to the Grand Canyon again. 

MVN: What was your favorite subject in school? Why? 

MA: I always liked history, I always thought history was interesting, I grew up in New Jersey, and so for me growing up, the civil war and the American revolution were just so interesting.

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