FACS teacher touches students’ hearts and souls when she steps into the classroom


Photo by Michelle Slezak

Michelle Slezak pictured with her husband Nick, baby Cameron, and dog, Kaya.

By D'Marcus Marin , Reporter

Pizza. Pasta. Bruschetta. Cinnamon rolls. Reese’s cookies. 

These are just a handful of Michelle Slezak’s favorite foods to cook. 

The Family and Consumer Science teacher’s love for cooking began from a very young age when her mom helped her discover her love and passion for baking and cooking. They would cook together, and also spent time sewing quilts. The fact that Slezak went on to become a FACS teacher who not only oversees classes such as Foods & Nutrition, Fashion Tech and Interior Design hardly seems surprising: during her childhood, Slezak was constantly rearranging and painting her room as well. 

“I knew I wanted to be a teacher, and I was lucky enough to mesh my passions and career together,” said Slezak.  

Growing up, Slezak was close to her family, and often looked forward to trips to Wisconsin and Colorado to visit extended family (Slezak will return to both states this summer to visit family, including her grandmother, who will meet Slezak’s son for the first time in-person). The group was “always outside, sightseeing, and hiking.” 

“Being with my siblings and cousins stands out to me about these trips – we always had so much fun together and are still so close to this day,” said Slezak.

Family remains a priority for Slezak. Happily married for 4 years, Slezak is mom to a 10-month-old baby boy named Cameron, and a 4-year-old Husky, she explained while smiling. Slezak and her husband, Nick, have been a couple since high school: although Slezak and husband Nick actually attended different schools, both were in the same town. They met through mutual friends, and despite attending different colleges as well, they were committed to staying together.

One of Slezak’s favorite pictures of her siblings and her on a family vacation. (Photo courtesy of Michelle Slezak)

“It’s cool because we have so much history and all of our teenage years we can reminisce about together,” said Slezak, giggling. 

Nick said, via email, “Mrs. Slezak and I met when we were in high school (she was a sophomore and I was a junior) and started to date pretty quickly after we met. Some qualities that stuck out to me were that she is caring, she is an extremely hard worker, she is family-oriented, and is one of the most selfless people I have met. I knew she was the one after we split up for a little bit when I went away to college. I still wanted to talk to her every day and I thought about her all of the time so I knew that it was not right to not be together. We ended up getting back together and the rest is history!” 

Since Slezak and her husband welcomed their son, Cam, into the family, her perspective on life has changed. Cam’s presence made her realize “how much love I can have for another human being. I am just so worried about him growing up in this world right now, but also on the other note, I hope I can raise him as someone who does good in this world and makes this world a little bit better.”

Slezak’s hopes for her son seem in line with the way she approaches the world as well. 

“She is trying to make the world a better place and she does so by the interactions that she has on a daily basis, as you probably have seen in the classroom,” said husband Nick.

Currently, Slezak teaches foods and interior design in rooms 1164 and 1168.  She cannot imagine herself doing anything else.

Students look forward to attending class when Slezak is teaching. Many describe her as “hardworking” and “genuine” as well as “caring”. 

Senior Ashley Malay said, “She’s very understanding, and a trusting teacher. She cares a lot about the student’s success in all classes, not just hers.”

“Mrs. Slezak is a very nice teacher who lets us have fun in her class as long as we are being productive, making it enjoyable,” said sophomore Andrew Langellier.

Slezak thinks her coworkers and friends would describe her as “loud” but also “positive” and “supportive.”

Baby Cameron with Slezak’s loving Husky dog, Kaya. (Photo courtesy of Michelle Slezak)

In fact, Slezak’s self-proclaimed work “bestie”, Family and Consumer Sciences teacher Angela Mullins, said, “I love working with Mrs. Slezak! She is such a hardworking and dedicated teacher who truly cares about her students’ success and well being! Mrs. Slezak and I have the same brain when it comes to curriculum planning and lesson ideas. She is an amazing support in and out of the classroom; someone I can go to for anything during the day. Overall, I am so lucky to work with Mrs. Slezak here at WEGO.”

Although Slezak has her hands full already with a baby and her duties as a teacher, she worked hard to get her graduate degree in December 2021, taking classes while pregnant. 

“I don’t know how I survived last semester,” said Slezak. 

Her master’s degree in ESL and bilingual education, from the American college of Education , is one of her greatest accomplishments.

It was such an accomplishment for me because I always wanted to go back to school and continue my education to better support my students. I completed my degree during my first semester back after maternity leave – it was really hard to balance my new life as a working mom, while teaching during our first ‘normal’ year back after the pandemic, and also completing my grad school work on time. It was one of the most difficult semesters yet, but I’m so glad I pushed to finish my degree,” said Slezak.

Naturally, this family-oriented teacher can be found spending time with loved ones on the weekend. She describes her family as her “everything.”

Slezak and her husband at a cooking class with her parents. (Photo courtesy of Michelle Slezak)

My husband and I try to go on a date night or order pizza on Fridays and we usually take a walk on Saturday morning with my son and dog to get coffee. Saturday night is usually spent going to dinner with my parents and siblings followed by a game night!  Sunday we go to church and brunch with family,” said Slezak.

Known for her caring personality, Slezak makes it a priority to give back to the community as well. As a child, she was involved in Girl Scouts and dedicated to community service projects through the organization. Now, she looks forward to volunteering at a food pantry in the near future, and hopes to make volunteering a weekly thing, and to include my son as he gets older.”

It is evident Slezak is a role model for others, and a compassionate individual who puts others first.

“Mrs. Slezak is a phenomenal person and she is the best mom to our son, Cam. She cares so much about getting the best out of people and she makes a positive impact on the people around her on a daily basis. She has made me a better person/teacher/father and I am fortunate to call her my wife,” said husband Nick.