Inside Scoop: Rachael Hassell

Bree Soule, Online Editor-in-Chief

Growing up with an addict, Fenton Area Public Schools District Media Specialist Rachael Hassells childhood wasn’t what she would consider as that great. She grew up low on money and oftentimes had to go without certain things. 

“[My mom and dad] stayed married and my mom tolerated his behavior,” Hassell said. “But we often went without quite a bit because you know, he just played before he paid the bills.”

Although this behavior left her in a difficult spot growing up, she persevered as she wanted to lead a different life than what she had previously. 

“A lot of time, because I’ve become the kind of adult that I am, people don’t realize that I grew up how I did,” Hassell said. “I have a master’s degree, got myself through college and kind of live a different life now. It was kind of one of those things where I always knew what I didn’t want my life to look like so I kind of had to work on what I want my life to look like because I didn’t really know what ‘healthy’ looked like until I started away from that.”

Hassell started college at Mott Community College before transferring to the University of Michigan-Flint. Then she attended the University of Seville in Spain and was awarded her master’s degree from Wayne State. She also received 20 graduate credits from Mindful Schools. Hassell originally wanted to be a psychologist before switching to the field of education.

“I’d always played school when I was a kid,” Hassell said. “My brother and I are eight years apart, so I would teach him and set up the stuffed animals. I thought I would teach Elementary and tried it out, but then I started sobbing, and realized I didn’t want to talk about tattling and wiping your boogers, all of that. I would come home and be like, ‘Oh my gosh, that was awful.’”

After making this realization, Hassell switched to working in secondary education and got a degree for teaching English and Spanish— but didn’t have much luck there either. 

“I really liked being in education and I love teaching, but I didn’t like how constricting it was for me,” Hassell said. “I was having a hard time with work-life balance and figuring out when was it okay to set my paperwork down and I just struggled with having personal hobbies and all of that as a new teacher. We all have to get more education pretty quickly into our career, so I started thinking about what master’s program I wanted to do.”

All these events led her to her current degree, Master of Library and Information Science, and her current career at Fenton High. 

“Someone mentioned library science to me as a career and I was unsure because my librarian in high school was really scary,” Hassell said. We were all terrified of her like I didn’t have a library with a fire going. So I was like no way. Then I started researching it and I was like, ‘Oh, actually, this is kind of cool.’”

Hassell began her new career at Clio High, but she also worked with the former Fenton High librarian for some time.

“I came here and worked with the former librarian for the time and I loved it,” Hassell said. “I was kind of unhappy at Clio for a lot of reasons, and so then I ended up getting my degree, went back to Clio and worked as a librarian there for a little while. When Mrs. Dewit retired, she actually called me and said, ‘I’m retiring, you should apply for a job,’ and so I did unexpectedly, and I got the job. It’s actually been history ever since.”

In the midst of her career, Hassell got married and divorced after having two kids.

“When I was 33 years old I got divorced,” Hassell said. “That was kind of like starting fresh. I built 10 years of my life as an adult and then it was like I was broke. I was raising kids by myself, but overall, I’m a pretty resilient person. I’m one of those people that’s like, go ahead. I’m gonna get through this. Go ahead and bring it on because I’m gonna get to the end and be better than I was before.”

Currently, in her spare time, Hassell likes to cook, read, do yoga and work in her yard. She enjoys her career at Fenton High and plans to stay for the long-run.