IMPACT

Elementary School Principal Sells Her Shoes To Save Her District

04/05/2011 01:38 pm ET | Updated Jun 05, 2011

To nominate a Greatest Person of the Day, e-mail Impact@huffingtonpost.com

Michele Miller, principal at Jackson Elementary School in Sacramento's Rescue Union school district, is selling all of her shoes.

"I need someone to adopt these things," she says. "Honestly, I'm getting a little desperate."

For 15 years Michele's shoes have had their very own bedroom in her Sacramento home. And she's selling all of them to raise money for her embattled school district, which has recently been threatened with budget cuts in the range of $1.4 to 2.2 million.

"These cuts would eliminate all librarians, bus drivers, health aides, support secretaries in specialized departments, two vice principals, and about 17 teachers overall," Michele says. "After spending about $3000 a year updating the school library the whole thing would sit dark."

The idea to sell her shoes came in an act of late night desperation. "It was about 11 o'clock and I was driving home from this board meeting wondering what I could do to bring in money in a short amount of time," she says. "So I came up with this idea."

With the help of another parent at her school, Michele created Shoes to the Rescue, a website she hopes will drum up attention her cause. The site features 350 pairs of shoes, all within the size 6 ½ - 7 ½ range. Some are classy, some are... fun. But all of them have a story.

"I've been collecting these shoes for about 15 years and they're really a major part of my life," she says.

While these aren't "high-end" shoes by any means -- Michele lives a simple life with her husband and two children, both of whom attended Rescue Union schools growing up -- each buyer will receive a hand-written "adoption certificate" explaining the story behind the pair.

"One of my favorite pairs of sandals has holograms of fish in the coral reef," Michele explains. "I bought them for a trip to Australia about eight years ago."

Another pair of boots saved her from serious injury. After a meeting, she'd jumped out of her car to retrieve some papers, not realizing she'd left the car in drive. "The car was moving along at a good gait across the parking lot with my legs dangling outside the car. I was able to stop the car with my hands, and I walked away without a scratch. The boots looked great after a little polish."

If shoes aren't your thing, you can also make a cash donation on the site through Paypal. The money will go directly to the district.

"April 12th is when the pink slips go out, so we've only got a week left," Michele says. "We'll take whatever help we can get."

In a time when school-wide budget cuts are receiving tons of press nationwide, Michele hopes her cause is personal enough to attract some attention from supporters.

"I've been working with kids for 28 years, and I've never seen cuts like this," Michele says. "I'm hoping we can do something about it."

Suggest a correction