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BHS Principal Ferguson steps down

June 01, 2011 - Michael Ferguson thought he would have a career as a professional athlete and for a short time, he was a Major League baseball player. However, when he retires at the end of this month, it will be as the Brandon High School principal and he has no regrets.

Ferguson played baseball on a scholarship at Eastern Michigan University, where he graduated with a bachelor's degree in education in 1973. He had a brief career as a third baseman with the Kansas City Royals, but encountered a few obstacles.

"I played behind someone called George Brett," said Ferguson with a rueful smile, referring to the Hall-of Famer who spent more than 20 years with the Royals, and had 3,154 career hits. "There was no money in baseball then and they wouldn't trade me, so I played for other professional teams that were independent of Major League Baseball."

Ferguson earned his master's degree in education in 1976, and in 1993, received his doctorate from Wayne State University. He has worked in school administration for nearly 34 years in four different districts.

He began his career in the Willow Run School District as a business teacher and also coached football, basketball, and baseball, and after four years, moved on to Allen Park Schools to become a high school principal. He continued to play baseball, traveling to Europe to represent the United States in international tournaments, competing against teams from China, Cuba, Japan, Italy, and more. During the week, he played on a local team to keep up his skills.

"I'd leave the office, take a vacation day, play all weekend, take a redeye flight, and be back in the office Monday," Ferguson said. "I got to play at a high level for a long time. I made money and friends and I have no regrets. I had the best of both worlds."

He stayed in Allen Park for about 15 years, moving up to superintendent, before deciding to interview for the position of principal at Brandon High School.

Ferguson, always punctual, was late to the interview due to a community service date with a dunk tank, but still got the job.

"I came here for the opportunity and challenge, and this has been the longest I've stayed in one place, because it's a great community with great kids," he said. "It's been nothing but a pleasure to be here. I like leading and guiding the kids into the future."

The challenges in Brandon have been the same as at schools everywhere, Ferguson says—chiefly not enough funding. However, he believes the district has handled the resources it has well, and he is proud of Brandon High School being named a Blue Ribbon Exemplary School, a national and state recognition given to schools who meet high standards in multiple categories including faculty, academics, athletics, and fine arts.

"It's reserved for great schools, and that is a highlight of my career," said Ferguson, who as BHS principal oversees more than 100 employees and puts everyone together as a team so the more than 1,200 students at the school receive a great education.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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