Woman between tow men in suits in a banquet hall.

Dr. Michele with Adam Ballent (’99), Child’s Voice first graduate (left) and alum Andrew Raad (’00) at the Voice from the Heart Legacy Celebration.

A purpose-driven career. That’s exactly what I have. It started in 8th grade when I worked at a summer camp for children with muscular dystrophy. I was so thrilled by the smile on the kiddos faces when we went to the local swimming pool.

I graduated college in 1977 and began a teaching career that has lasted and fulfilled me for 45 years. My area of expertise is in Deaf Education. I have had various positions. I have taught and coached families and instructed college students. But on an August day in 1977 I knew I was in the right place at the exact right time.

I was a classroom teacher in Colfax, IA in a pre-K through 8th grade school. In fact, the building also housed the Superintendent’s office. I had five students in a huge classroom. The students ranged from Kindergarten to 6th grade (that age span now is against the law, thank goodness — or at least in Illinois). On the blackboard with chalk, I wrote my name MISS MERRICK and asked who could read it. Albert raised his hand — he was so eager to answer.

“Yes, Albert,” I said. And with a loud voice he announced, “MISS AMERICA!!”

I knew right then I was in the right place at the right time. I knew I had a purpose-driven career beginning. I knew I could make a difference in these young lives (along with teaching decoding skills!). I also liked the name but quickly corrected Albert.

Fast-forward 45 years to my position at Child’s Voice. For the past 23 years, I have led an extraordinary collection of people and an amazing organization. I am blessed to work with experts in the field of Listening and Spoken Language, teaching children with hearing loss and their families. They too are starting or leading purpose-driven careers.

As you may know, I will retire at the end of the our school year. My last event is our Golf Event on June 7. I sure hope to see you there!

However, there still much going on and much to accomplish before then. Check out the video from our Winter Festival. We hope to open our campus to visitors in 2022 but we will always be following local, state, and federal guidelines.

Please stay safe and take all necessary precautions to keep yourself and family members healthy.

Here’s to a happy 2022 (which will hopefully not be 2020, too!)

Warmest Regards,

Dr. Michele

Click here to watch highlights from the Voice from the Heart celebration!