Deborah Mullice has worked at AAPS for 30 years—the entire time at Clague Middle School. Her duties there are multi-fold, and for the past 14 years have included physical education teacher, athletic director, lead teacher, and coach.
Prior to becoming a teacher, Mullice worked for 16 years at Clague as a community education coordinator, coordinating activities for the Clague cluster, including enrichment classes and activities, school age child care and summer day camp programs.
Raised in Ann Arbor, Mullice attended Scarlett Middle School and Huron High School. She then received a track scholarship to Eastern Michigan University, where she earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree.
Mullice is the daughter of the late Dr. Samuel and Verdell Mullice. Her mother taught for 37 years while her father started his career as a teacher and later became AAPS’ director of Adult and Continuing Education and the assistant superintendent for community services.
Mullice lives in Ann Arbor not far from Clague. She is helping raise two nephews, both of whom live with her, and one of whom attends Clague. Her hobbies are playing golf, exercising, traveling and shopping.
Profile and photo by Jo Mathis/AAPS District News
Why did you become a teacher? I was following in the footsteps of my parents. They were my heroes, my role models. I used to coach little league basketball and baseball with my dad, so I was a coach before becoming a teacher and I really enjoyed working with children. I had always wanted to be the type of coach and teacher who made a difference in the lives of my students. Also, I was a pretty decent athlete and wanted to be the type of coach I always wished I had—someone who could help me to reach my highest potential. I truly love working with young people.
When do you love your job the most? When my students get the concepts and ideas and can perform the activity the way it is intended. In other words, when my students get it. When I am affecting change.
When do you love your job the least? When I have to take time away from instruction to do paperwork and other district requirements.
What makes you well-suited for the job? I love working with children. I like building relationships and helping students to succeed. I like to see them grow and mature. As Athletic Director, I have the opportunity as well to help the student/athletes who are struggling, I become a liaison for them with their teachers. I sometimes find that I can affect change in struggling students who want to participate in sports by getting them to do their work in order to participate.
What do you know about teaching that you didn’t know right out of college? I didn’t realize I would have to be the teacher, advisor, cheerleader, coach or whatever the kids and parents need me to be. I didn’t realize that some parents don’t have control over their child and would look to me as to how to handle them.
How has the profession changed since you started teaching? We’re now focusing more on standards, data, technology, incorporating other subject areas into our subject area, a very diverse population, a bigger variety of subjects offered, and increased emails. Teachers use to be more revered.
How have students changed? Students seem to think they are entitled to whatever they want; they are more disrespectful.
If you hadn’t become a teacher, what would you be doing? I would be a collegiate coach or into real estate, buying and flipping houses, or some type of business. If I weren’t teaching physical education, I probably would teach a business class in high school.
Physical education is very important in our schools … because regular physical activity helps to improve children’s overall health and fitness and gives them the confidence to enjoy a lifetime of healthful physical activities. Studies show a positive correlation between physical activity and academic performance. Students who are physically active and fit are more likely to perform well in school. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stats show that among adolescents in Michigan, 13 percent of high schoolers are considered obese. Physical education helps develop teamwork, cooperation, and good sportsmanship skills. Most of all, it promotes a physically active lifestyle for life.
My work- out routine … is to get at least 3 -4 miles or one hour of some type of cardio aerobic exercise at least five days per week and at least 40 minutes of strength training five days per week. I enjoy working out. It’s a habit.
What was the most rewarding experience of the past school year? Coaching basketball. My team went 8-0, and I totally enjoyed coaching that group of athletes.
What doesn’t the general public understand about a day in the life of an AAPS teacher? We sometimes wear many hats. I am P.E. teacher, lead teacher, athletic director (co-curricular director), coach, committee member and whatever else someone needs me to be or do.
How did you earn your first dollar? I have always been the enterprising type. I started working as a babysitter at 13 and at McDonalds when I was in high school.
Who inspires you and why? My parents were my biggest source of inspiration. They were wonderful people. Growing up my entire life—until two years ago, when my mom died—my family ate dinner together every Sunday. That included my parent(s), siblings, nieces and nephews and sometimes friends. My siblings and friends are my biggest support system now.
What about your professional life today most excites you? Seeing my students grow and mature, seeing them graduate, seeing them come back to visit, and hearing how well they are doing.