TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - After 12 years at the helm, Dr. Mike Metke is officially leaving Tyler Junior College.
“It feels good that we’ve done a lot here together,” said Metke. “You always want to leave while people want you to stay.”
While Metke looks at his impact in the form of new buildings, new retirement plans for employees and infrastructure improvements, those who have worked with him say his impact is a little deeper.
“He inspires not only me, but everyone, — all his employees around him — to be better and bring out the best in everyone," said Clifton Henry, a former student and current employee at TJC. "Dr. Metke has brought life and joy to TJC and we all feel like TJC is part of our family because he’s a mentor and a nurturer and that, to me, is how he’ll always be remembered.”
“He trained so many of our current and moving up administrators that the model he set, I think, is going to be carried through, so he may be leaving, but he’s leaving a legacy behind," said Betsy Ott, a biology professor who has been with TJC since 1982.
Tracie Finley Gonzales was a student at TJC before and says the only reason she’s back is because of Dr. Metke.
“If you go back 13 years to when I was first here, it was not a place I felt was very welcoming,” said Gonzales. “Now, being a student, I’m actually wanting to go to class; just the atmosphere.”
While others describe his as a leader, mentor or friend, Metke says he knows how to pick 'em.
“Maybe, if I have a talent, it’s been picking really good people and helping empower them,” said Metke.
He says those who he’s picked have meant so much to him.
“I’m going to miss the TJC family," said Metke. "It’s an incredible place to work.”
Dr. Metke says he and his wife Donna will be staying in Tyler and plan to do a lot of travelling, now that he’s retired.