Austin leaves lasting impact


There are few names as synonymous with Kingsford Heights as Mrs. Austin–beloved KHES librarian. 

Austin started working at Kingsford Heights in 1999 but didn’t start out as the librarian. She started out as Mrs. Debe Meyer’s 3rd grade class assistant. Then she was a lunch assistant, preschool assistant, and personal assistant to two special needs children. She wasn’t planning on becoming a librarian, but the position was open. 

“The position was open, and I did not think it would be a hard job–reading to students,” Austin said. 

It turns out it was the perfect fit 

Over the years, Austin has helped many students learn about the different genres of books in the library. She doesn’t just read the book; she interacts and connects with the students so that it keeps them engaged. She loves their hugs and listens to what is happening in their lives. She tries to make the library a happy place where kids can feel safe and fall in love with reading. She is a trusted adult for Tiger students. 

“These students need someone to love them back, pull out the good in them, help them think and understand their lessons, or to achieve that ‘A’ on the paper or test,” Austin said. 

Austin is a huge support at KHES. She runs the book fairs every year, and she coaches every sport the school offers–track, basketball, and ring toss. She wants to give every child an opportunity to figure out their athletic abilities. Sports offer the Tigers a chance to be a part of a team and push themselves mentally and physically. 

“This is figuring out each player’s athletic abilities of jumping, running, and throwing. I encourage them all things are possible,” Austin said. 

Outside of school, Austin is heavily involved with her church–Antioch Glory Center Church in South Bend. She works with children in the children’s ministry, praise teams, and the elders, and has been since she was five years old. She also does a variety of activities. She gardens, walks, and rides bicycles with her husband and her children.

“I am one of the teachers teaching three year olds to 12 year olds in a mixed group classroom. Never getting away from what God has given me,” Austin said. 

Austin has three children–Carlton, Courtney, and Crystal. In high school, Carlton played baseball, ran track, and played football. Courtney ran cross country, and Crystal played softball. Carlton had a son recently, and Austin is elated about becoming a first-time grandparent. Austin’s husband just retired from UPS, working there for 30 years. Her family is an irreplaceable part of her life. 

“My husband Donald is a great support of all I do,” Austin said. 

Austin is family to the Tiger students and staff. She is irreplaceable to KHES and has left an indelible mark at the school. 

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