MEXICO — Elaine Michaud has two very different talents and loves — singing at local events and teaching physical education.

When the school year ends in June, she will retire from teaching at Mountain Valley Middle School, where she has taught for 38 years.

“My first teaching job was here when it was Mexico High School and I had the choice of staying here when it became a middle school or going to Mountain Valley High School,” she said.

She decided to stay at the middle school because of the great track, fields, biking trails and other amenities for getting students involved in physical activities, she said.

“My classroom has been a gym or a field,” she said. “This has been all I’ve ever wanted to do. My father taught me the love of sport.”

Tennis and basketball are her favorite sports. They got her a scholarship to attend the University of Maine at Presque Isle where she majored in physical education and minored in music.


Michaud is a graduate of Brunswick High School in 1974 and UMPI in 1978. She started her long career in the same building from which she is retiring.

“I absolutely adore teaching and love the kids, sports and athletics,” she said.
She has coached tennis, track and field, field hockey and intramurals.

“I’m very proud of the fact that no one has ever been picked last in my class,” she said. “I love every student for who they are. There’s always something for everyone.”

A federal physical education grant a few years ago provided a myriad of equipment not usually found in public school physical education programs — mountain bikes, snowshoes, canoes, kayaks, and climbing walls, among them.

She learned her love for teaching when she was 17 and taught tennis in Brunswick.

“I love competition and I’ve always been an athlete. I like to share this with students, for them to be physically fit throughout their lives,” she said.


She is particularly proud of having won two prestigious awards, including the Maine Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year in 2010 and a coaching award from the Maine Principals’ Association in 2015.

“My greatest rewards have been the thousands of children who have touched my life. It’s been that simple and wonderful,” she said.

It will be tough leaving the school on June 14, she said.

“I will walk out of here with a heavy heart, but I’ve been blessed with a career of a lifetime. It has been an absolute joy. I’ve had a magical life,” she said.

She hopes to continue coaching tennis and volunteering at the Mexico food pantry.

She also has many nieces and nephews she knows will keep her active.

Her favorite teaching moments have come when a student has done something they didn’t think they could do.

“I just want kids to be happy and have fun. Life is serious enough without adding unnecessary stress to their lives,” she said. “It’s been a great life.”

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