By Tom Tolen /

The popular principal at Hilton Elementary School in Brighton will be retiring at the end of July. Jeff Eisele, who has been principal at Hilton for the last seven years, says he has mixed feelings but believes it’s time to start a new chapter in his life. The Board of Education approved Eisele's retirement at a recent meeting.

Brighton Superintendent Matthew Outlaw says Eisele will be greatly missed. “His connection with students and his kind heart have made an enormous impact on the culture of the school,” Outlaw said.

Eisele, who is originally from Dexter and still makes his home there, has a master’s degree from Eastern Michigan University. He started his teaching career in San Clemente, CA, teaching science in middle school for 11 years. He returned to his home state in 2001 to be an assistant middle school principal in Saline, but just a year later was appointed assistant principal at then-Maltby Middle School. In 2009 he served briefly as assistant principal at Scranton Middle School and then returned to Maltby, which by then was an intermediate school, as co-principal. In 2015, Eisele was selected to be the principal at Hilton Elementary.

Eisele says he has really enjoyed the last six years — so much so that, he says, “The kids have been telling me, ‘You can’t retire!’” Eisele says his philosophy is “hands-on, always being available.”

Eisele, who will be 59 in July, is married, his wife being the speech pathologist in the Saline Area Schools. The couple has three children, two of whom are in college and one in high school. Eisele, who has a cottage in the Clare area, expects to occupy much of his retirement time to go fishing, camping, and biking.

Cory Shah, a second-grade teacher at Hilton, says she will always remember Eisele as being outside, greeting the children. She says, “He’d be standing out there when the kids got off the bus and greeting them every day, and the same in the afternoon.” Shah says, “Once, he said if the kids read a certain number of books, he’d kiss a pig, and he did!”

Hilton Elementary is ranked #4 among elementary schools in Livingston County in the Niche “2021 Best Schools” ratings.

Interviews on a replacement for Eisele will take place during the final week of school, and teachers, principals from other district schools, and parent representatives will be part of the interview team. Outlaw says, “The goal is to have the next principal selected by the week of June 14th for consideration by the Board of Education.”