From his earliest days as a student to his retirement as an assistant principal, Thomas A. Teetaert has appreciated all his experiences in the Grosse Pointe Public School System. He attended Maire Elementary School, then Pierce Middle School and eventually Grosse Pointe High School. Later, he found his way back to the district when he was hired as a teacher at Poupard Elementary School. Afterward, he was employed as a PE teacher and head swim coach at Grosse Pointe North High School and finally became the Assistant Principal.
After numerous years of being educated in the Grosse Pointe Public School System, it wasn’t necessarily a plan for Teetaert to continue his career path in the district, it happened to be more of a pleasant surprise.
“I graduated with a teaching degree and began substituting in many school districts,” Teetaert said. “I filled in [for] the long term in Grosse Pointe and was then offered a position at Poupard Elementary, thus contin[ing] my Grosse Pointe experience.”
As Teetaert started off as a teacher and a coach at Grosse Pointe North, the idea of becoming an administrator never crossed his mind. However, the Principal of North at the time proposed he take on a larger role.
“I really had no thoughts of going into administration as I truly enjoyed teaching and coaching,” Teetaert said. “Dr. Kastran, the newly hired Principal, approached me and asked if I would join him as one of his assistants. I decided I would like to take on a new challenge and accepted Dr. Kastran’s appointment.”
Throughout his time as the Assistant Principal, Teetaert believes being honored at one of the annual homecoming pep assemblies was one of his fondest and most remarkable moments.
“The one [memory] that stands out was when I was surprised and honored at a pep assembly in front of the student body, staff, my wife, mother and children,” Teetaert said. “[It was] difficult holding the tears back, but was quite a surprise and memorable moment.”
All these moments of greatness have shaped Teetaert into the person he is today, and the GPPSS has taught him many valuable lessons that he will forever carry within him.
“[I learned to] laugh a lot, build strong positive friendships, work hard, and love what you do,” Teetaert said.
With that said, his passion for educating wouldn't have been possible without the people around him. Through his 51.6 years in the district, he has had the privilege to work and grow with many individuals and create special relationships with his colleagues that will last a lifetime.
“I have had the pleasure of being taught by, and work[ing] with so many talented educators, administrators, and support[ive] staff members,” Teetaert said.
Along with learning from many colleagues, Teetaert has had a positive impact on many educators in the district, including current Grosse Pointe North Principal Kate Murray. Murray’s first impression of Teetaert was his welcoming demeanor.
“It was the fall of 1995 and I drove here [ to North] from Ann Arbor and I parked in the backlot. I was extremely nervous, anxious, and scared,” Murray said. “This man came around the corner with this big booming but warm voice and said, ‘Hey little lady you’re not from around here, how can I help you?’ and that was Tom Teetaert.”
Recognizing and appreciating the outstanding character that Teeatert displays himself to be is Murray.
“Tom Teetaert is not just an educational leader though, he is a dear friend and a mentor,” Murray said. “I don’t know anyone who is more gracious, kind and supportive.”
During North’s 2023 homecoming parade, Teetaert was honored by getting to stroll through Grosse Pointe Woods in one of the vehicles. Teetaert expressed his overjoyment to have seen so many familiar faces, which caused him to reflect on a prominent time in his life.
“So many past students came to the car or shouted hellos. Many with children of their own,” Teetaert said. “I was delighted to see so many [people] and to remember the great times.”
Though Teetaert retired in 2006, his legacy in the district will remain. He is continuing to relish all the little things life has to offer.
“Since we retired we have been blessed with two grandchildren who are now carrying on the GPP school tradition at South and Brownell,” Teetaert said. “I also enjoy watching their [grandkids] practices and soccer games.”
As Teetaert has been distinguished as a mentor to many, he leaves students with a quick piece of advice after years of knowledge.
“Listen to your parents as they are your best teachers and will always be there for you,” Teetaert said. “Make good decisions, work hard and follow your dreams.”
Want to Nominate Someone to be Profiled?
To celebrate the first 100 years of educational excellence at Grosse Pointe Public Schools, student writers in Grosse Pointe North’s journalism classes are partnering with Grosse Pointe Alumni and Friends to profile alumni from our illustrious first century.
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