‘Once a Beach baby, always a Beach baby’
By Lauren Evoy Davis
After 49 years as a Maryland educator and civic leader, Dr. Michael Shisler, is making his next strategic move: retirement.
His career began in U.S. Peace Corps in Central Africa Republic in 1972, after which he taught in the Baltimore City School system. He later brought his talents to Calvert County and in 1992 he became the principal of Beach Elementary School.
Mornings started with a friendly greeting to students walking in the front door.
“He probably knew the names of 90 percent of the kids, and most of their parents. It was very important to him to make sure the kids, parents, and all the staff know they belong,” said former counselor Becky Lebow.
He introduced many curious kids (and adults) to the tactical game of chess where they played for fun on Pizza and Chess nights and formed the Beach Bishops team to compete with students from other schools. Throughout the competitions, Shisler emphasized good sportsmanship while giving helpful tips and tricks.
His leadership is appreciated beyond the walls of the school. “Dr. Shisler played a key role in the renaissance of Chesapeake Beach this past quarter century. Folks relocated here for the outstanding educational environment at BES. For this we are forever grateful to Dr. Shisler, his former and current staff,” said Patrick J. “Irish” Mahoney, Mayor of Chesapeake Beach.
Shisler, it seemed, was everywhere. Besides his busy day-to-day schedule managing BES, he attended field trips, Parent Teacher Association meetings and events like “Love a Book” night, and fund raisers, all while teaching the importance of giving back to the community. The Ambassador’s Club did just that with canned food drives for local food shelters.
Among the many challenges faced during his time at BES, the COVID-19 pandemic was especially difficult, but Shisler, his staff, parents, and kids were able to quickly adapt to online-learning and later a hybrid model.
Plans to honor Shisler at the North Beach Fire Dept. have been postponed due to the recent uptick in COVID-19 infections, but organizers say a donation to one of his favorite charities is appreciated: Project ECHO Homeless Shelter, BES Angel Tree Fund; or by introducing new players to the game of chess.
Beach Elementary welcomes new principal Brock A. Fulton, formerly of Huntington Elementary, this school year and soon, a new school building as well.