I was a 7th-grade student when I first knew that I wanted to become a teacher. My teacher, Mrs. Roller, had assigned a simple project: identify a current career goal and seek out hands-on experiences to learn more about it. To gain experience working with kids, I volunteered to help with a Lower School lunch table for several days. I still remember helping students sit down (and sit up straight!), practicing our best table manners, and encouraging friendly conversation.
Since graduating in 2002, I often imagined returning to teach here. I never envisioned that I would do so as a husband and father, 14 years later, after teaching English at Ransom Everglades for nine years. In August 2016, my wife Erin and I, along with our son CJ, moved from Miami to Milwaukee. Erin is English Department chair at The Prairie School in Racine, Wisconsin, and CJ is a Preprimary student at USM.
In my first days as a new faculty member this fall, dozens of memories flooded my mind: the speech that I gave to the Upper School as a senior, along with several other students, in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, articulating how the USM should respond; Middle School “no rules” basketball at recess, a preposterous and largely underground happening; and regular viewings in 3rd grade of “Storylords,” the fantasy-based PBS television program designed to interest students in reading. When I walk through the hallways each day, I often remember vivid moments like these that are still alive and well.
USM is a world-class School because of its community of passionate and innovative teachers; supportive and visionary administrators; dedicated and compassionate staff; invested, caring parents; and talented, hard-working students. My former teachers and coaches have fundamentally impacted what I believe about teaching and learning, about student growth and empowerment, and about meaningful education well beyond a classroom. The people of USM are world-class, and that is why my family and I are here.
USM and its community continues to give me and my family so much. My sweetest moment in the transition so far was on my birthday when I read “The Book with No Pictures” to CJ’s class. That morning I entered Mrs. Keppler’s marvelous space, and the helper-of-the-day handed me a custom-made crown. I read the absurd book to the group, and we have a grand time together. I am truly honored and humbled to be a part of it all once again.”
Charlie Housiaux ’02 is an Upper School English teacher and Dean of Students. He is the son of Kathryn Housiaux ’68 who retired from USM in 2014 after 29 years, and the nephew of Kip Jacobs ’74, Middle school science teacher.