Photo and profile by Jo Mathis/AAPS District News
Shaenu Micou grew up in Ann Arbor in the Arrowwood Hills community, and attended Northside and Logan elementary schools, Clague Junior High, and Huron High School. Micou earned his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, specializing in juvenile justice, from Alabama State University, a historically black college. He later earned his master’s degree in organizational leadership and administration from Concordia University.
This is Micou’s fourth year as an intervention specialist at Skyline High School. He and his wife Madeline L. Micou, a counselor at Scarlett Middle School, have two sons, Samuel, who is one, and Shaenu II, who will be three next month. The family lives in Ypsilanti.
What inspired you to become a behavior intervention specialist? The position is so parallel and consistent with what I love to do. Providing and supporting our most vulnerable students with whatever they need to stay in school, and be successful in life is the epitome of my passion. Don’t tell anyone, but I’d do this for free!
Can you describe an average workday? An average day for me is like an emergency rescue. I come to work every day prepared and ready to diagnose, treat, and mend broken people and situations. My office is the rescue station. During the school day, I do check-ins, focus meetings, intervention meetings, and classroom visits or observations with students, teachers, parents and community networks. After school, I run a program called Leaders of Today and Tomorrow, where I work closely with students to do homework, get tutored, explore career and goal setting, or work together to resolve conflicts and other problems.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about teenagers since you’ve become a behavior interventional specialist? I’ve learned that though they can seem very hard and prickly, they are very delicate and fragile. As adults, we must realize we have a much greater impression on them than we think, and must handle them with the utmost care and consideration. I’ve learned that teens are more than able, and will accomplish anything if we help them believe in themselves.
What is the most rewarding part of your work? Being able to be a part of intentionally supporting our youth that have been abused, neglected, shutdown, and shutout, to feel loved, supported, valued and valuable. I commit myself to not perpetuate or be like the opposition they faced before coming to me. It is also indescribably gratifying to see the transformation that occurs when the light is sparked, causing a student to strive for the greatness they were born to be.
What is the most challenging part of your job? Watching students fail because I failed to help them believe enough in themselves to exceed their potential and overcome their opposition in and out of school.
What was your own experience like in high school and what is it about those years that helps you now help teens? My experience in high school was good but incomplete. I say good because I enjoyed high school and by grace overcame obstacles that trap and hold most back. I say incomplete because of all the valuable things no one ever taught me, and the faith and confidence that weren’t fully formed to push me to go further and higher. Now I make it my mission to push my students to learn all they can about how things work in life and to tap into the greatness inside of them we so deeply need in our society.
Do some of the issues some teens face ever seem insurmountable to you? Totally. I often wonder how many of them make it to school from what they have dealt with and deal with on a daily basis. No kid should ever have to worry about not having at least one person they can depend on, or where their next meal is coming from, or if everyone will abuse and neglect them like everyone else they trusted.
What can parents of younger students do now to help prevent future problems? Parents should be there in such a way that their children will be assured they’ll be there for them in the future. I believe nothing will prevent future problems like the proper development and maturity of a child that comes from the proper love and support of that child. If I could change one thing, I would change how we hold ourselves accountable to taking care of and educating our most poor and vulnerable children.
What would you tell a college student considering working in education? I believe it is one of the greatest means of service on earth. But I would say pick another profession if it’s not your passion—something you really love to do. I believe being an educator is hard, exhaustive, selfless work that pays extremely well if it is something you would do for no pay.
What do you like to do when you’re not working? Spending quality time with my beautiful wife and my two wonderful sons. My hobbies are reading or watching history, news, politics and sports. I also really enjoy outings and game nights with family and friends. My passion is serving and helping my fellow man in any way I can through the love of Jesus Christ.
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