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Alum Finds His Teaching Paradise Teacher, cut loose from rural school district, lands new job at small island school

Rob Groesbeck at a beach just down the hill from his school.

Imagine spending the last years of your teaching career on a remote island. Rob Groesbeck ’84, M.A.T. in Elementary Education, doesn’t have to.

Groesbeck found himself the victim of downsizing at his rural Michigan school district after 32 years of teaching mostly middle school science. While he was still too young to retire, Groesbeck wasn’t sure he would be able to find another teaching position. “…my prospects seemed bleak,” he recalled.

That was before Groesbeck found Beaver Island Community School (BICS). Located on Beaver Island in northern Lake Michigan, BICS is a pre-K, K-12 public school with a focus on customized learning.

The view out of Rob Groesbeck’s classroom window at dawn in late winter.

Groesbeck, who now teaches kindergarten through eighth-grade science at BICS, has the teaching experience some can only dream about.

“…I fell for the close-knit feel, the fresh air, the sunrises out my classroom window, the small class sizes (5-13) and the strong support of the islanders. I’ve been here for [more than] two years now, and hope to make it three more before ending my 36-year teaching career in a town where no one locks their doors, we leave our keys in the car and you can’t go for a walk without someone asking if you want a ride,” explained Groesbeck.

An early morning at Beaver Island Community School.