Mr. Browne, Former Principal: Works Two Jobs in Michigan, Misses Talking to Students the Most


Riley Guyette, Editor-in-Chief, Online Tritonian

Tritonian editor-in-chief Riley Guyette contacted former principal Patrick Browne to find out what is going on in his life.  Below are the questions and Mr. Browne’s responses.  

Q. What are you doing now? Are you still involved with education?

A. I am presently doing two jobs, both of which I absolutely love.  I am a sportswriter for the Iron County Reporter which is a small newspaper primarily focusing on the cities of Forest Park and Iron River, Michigan.  My job is to cover high school sports and write weekly articles. It’s a great job and put me back in touch with Andrew Pekarek as he was a former sports writer. Interestingly, this is the first job I ever had where I work with people I have never met in person.  I interact with our editors via text and email, but the job is freelance so doesn’t necesitate being ‘in person.’  I imagine this will be the way of the future for many of the students, but it is very different from what I have experienced before.

My other job is teaching 19 fifth-graders at Forest Park Elementary School, which is in Crystal Falls, Michigan (five days a week from 8 AM to 3:05 PM).  I also run with our cross country team just about every day after school….  Going back into teaching has been absolutely wonderful.  I wake up in the morning excited about being with students and about the opportunity to make the world a better place. I think teaching is an incredibly difficult job, but if I can be patient, kind and caring the students will learn how they should be as adults and that will make the world better. I try to model Mr. Geiser and Mrs. Abler’s focus on ‘kindness’ and think that may be the most important lesson students learn in school. Be kind and the rest will follow.

After 33 years to go back to classroom teaching has been a real gift for which I am filled with gratitude.


Q. What about NDA are you missing the most?

A. I miss walking around the lunchroom talking to the students the most.  I miss banging on Mr. Guyette’s window to the beat of ‘Crazy Train,’ I miss Mr. Bobinski and AJ Giovanetti and our “conversations” in the lunchroom, I miss Mr. Johnson and his ‘insights’ which always made me think, I miss Cassidy McGowan’s energy, Mr. Flaten’s scurrying about, Mrs. Bialk’s dedication, Mrs. Sidon and Junior (who made me realize it was time to teach again), Frau’s Morning Show, Mr. Novotny’s commitment, Mrs. Fredrick’s calm approach to a very difficult job, Mr. Kiely’s leadership, Mr. Masarik’s commitment, sitting with Mike and Carolyn Brown at home athletic contests, Flaggy’s sense of humor, the conversations with Doctora, Ms. Mahlik and Mr. Gray about life, Mr. Schultz’s calm approach, Mr. Koenig’s green pants and Anthony’s energy, and all the students, faculty and staff. I could go on and on as there truly is something worth missing about everyone I have had the joy to meet.  (Interestingly I don’t ‘miss’ people who have impacted me because they are always with me….we often think about the physical presence of life, but those who have left an imprint are with us in a much more real way than we understand.)


Q. How has NDA affected your life?

A. The Book of Ecclesiastes is my favorite book of the Bible, and I truly believe as it says over and over again …..”there is a time and a place for everything.” Notre Dame was the right place at the right time for me to learn what I needed to learn and when it was done life moved me to the next place I was supposed to be.  After all the difficult decisions that had to be made, Notre Dame made me want to live a simple life, make a small positive difference and be joyful every day.


Q. Do you still stay updated with school functions at NDA? Do you still read the Online Tritonian?

A. I think about NDA every day, check the website periodically and read the Tritonian regularly.  


Q. Do you still run every day?

A. Sure do….and never with music.  Spending time outside every day is critically important to mental health.  I am very slow compared to how fast I used to run, but acceptance is important as you get older.  Every run is a great run even when you need to walk :  )


Q. I’ve been told you are an avid reader. Any good book recommendations? 

A. Oh so many!  John Irving is one of my favorite authors and has a new book out, The Last Chairlift, which I am looking forward to reading.  EVERYONE should read, The Midnight Library by Matt Haig (perhaps this should become required reading in high school), The Girl Who Wrote in Silk (sort of a love story but has an interesting twist) and The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All by Allan Gurganus which was on the New York Times Best Seller list for eight months.