Niles Community Schools announces Michelle Asmus as high school principal

Published 9:39 am Tuesday, October 19, 2021

NILES — Niles Community Schools has announced that Michelle Asmus will become the principal of Niles High School, effective Jan. 1, 2022, replacing Molly Brawley, who is retiring at the end of the year.

Asmus is currently the principal at Howard-Ellis Elementary and has served in that position since 2010. To facilitate the transition, she will be onsite at the high school over the next few weeks and months, allowing her to work closely with Brawley while getting to know the students, families, faculty and staff.

Melissa Rough, the current assistant principal at Howard-Ellis Elementary, will serve as interim principal at Howard-Ellis and receive vital support from district administration during this transition. Rough has served in her leadership role at Howard-Ellis for four years, working closely with Asmus on strengthening the learning and intervention programs available at the school, while building strong relationships with families, faculty and staff. A succession plan is being developed, and a permanent replacement at Howard-Ellis will be announced next spring, officials announced.

“Michelle has been integral to Niles Community Schools for over 20 years, and we are thrilled to welcome her as the new principal at our high school,” said Dr. Dan Applegate, superintendent at Niles Community Schools. “She understands student engagement, how to create a positive culture and the depth of learning paths that we offer. She is a proud Viking, and her history with the district runs deep. We look forward to this next step in her journey with us.”

Asmus, a graduate of Niles High School, has been with the district for 22 years. In 2000, she joined Niles Community Schools as a second-grade teacher at Howard-Ellis Elementary. After four years teaching, she was named the assistant principal at Howard-Ellis, and she became the school’s principal in 2010. In 2018, Asmus was recognized as an Exemplary Viking from the Niles Education Foundation and Region 5 Honoree from the Michigan Elementary & Middle School Principals Association.

“I am delighted to see Michelle step into the role of high school principal,” Brawley said. “Her love for our learners and her knowledge of effective instructional strategies will serve as a strong foundation for her work in all areas – from academics and co-curriculars to athletics and clubs. Michelle is a life-long learner and friend, and she will have an immediate impact on our students and families. I have full confidence that she will excel in this new role.”

During her time with Howard-Ellis, Asmus implemented several programs to benefit students’ academic, social and emotional well-being. Her school initiatives ranged from One Book, One School – a program to promote literacy at a school-wide level – to Howard-Ellis Buddies – which paired students with staff members to build comradery and create mentorship opportunities.

“While we will be sad to see Molly leave our halls, the future for Niles High School is bright with Michelle at the helm,” Applegate said. “Her skillset, leadership and expertise in both education and student support allow her to build upon Molly’s achievements while continuing to move the district forward.”