215 Ferris Avenue, East Providence, RI 02916 | 401-432-9940

We Are Wolf: Mike LaRose

A Wolf staple for over 19 years, Mike LaRose, our Physical Education and Health Teacher, has seen The Wolf School through many changes. But one thing that hasn’t changed is his commitment to his students and his love of Wolf. Take a look below to learn more about Mike in this month’s We Are Wolf interview!

1. Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you came to Wolf?

As a child, I grew up in the Northwest corner of Rhode Island in a small town called Glocester. I was lucky to be surrounded by the woods, lakes, and an amazing community that valued sports and outdoor recreation activities like hiking, boating, bike riding, and one of my favorite things to do, fishing! As a teenager I worked a variety of jobs like bailing hay on a farm, washing dishes/bussing tables at restaurants, and painting with my Uncle, but it was my time working as a Sports Camp Counselor and Archery Director that helped me to realize that working with kids and sports is something that I really enjoyed and wanted to do. In addition, while in High School, I had a P.E teacher suggest to me one day that she thought I would be a great P.E teacher and it really made me think about my future. From that point on, teaching P.E. is what I wanted to do! Side note….this teacher would later turn out to be my mother-in-law! After attending college at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire, I was certified to teach Health and Physical Education in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. After sending out a large number of applications, Wolf was the school to give me a chance and the last 19 years are history. 

2. What do you find to be the most rewarding part of working with Complex Learners?

To me, the most rewarding part of working with Complex Learners is being part of the process. The process starts when they walk through the doors on their first day and continues each and every day after that. Being part of the beginning when they start, watching them grow through the years and learning to overcome their fears, continually gaining confidence in themselves and their abilities, and doing things that seemed unimaginable at the beginning. After Wolf, the process continues again. I have been extremely fortunate to have students include me in their journeys after Wolf and I couldn’t be more proud of their accomplishments and the people they are today. 

3. In addition to Health & PE, you are also the head coach for our sports teams. Can you tell us a bit about that experience? Why are team sports so important for our students?

Yes, definitely! Since 2004 I have coached Cross-Country in the Fall, Basketball in the Winter, and Track in the Spring. Getting to work with students after school in a different setting has been awesome in helping me to build the rapport needed to teach and support them during the school day. It has also helped me to make better connections with families as there tend to be more communication and face-to-face interactions with athletes’ families during the sports seasons. 

Afterschool sports at Wolf help to build and support our community and are more than just the sport. We, of course, learn the skills, strategies, positions, and rules of each sport, but we also spend the majority of our time talking about being a positive and supportive teammate and showing commitment to your teammates and coaches. To me, sports at Wolf is the vehicle to help learn about life. Making a commitment to your team helps prepare our athletes for when the day comes that they will have to get up and go to work each day because others may count on them. Learning how to support and encourage teammates helps to develop empathy so that as they get older they can think about the people around them. Overcoming nerves and fears help to build the resilience that is necessary for when things get hard later in life. Sports also teach us about ourselves and how our mind and body are connected. Overcoming negative thoughts, staying persistent to reach your goal, digging deep to improve, and most importantly, never giving up. When we don’t give up and we choose to fight through the tough moments of our lives, we build stronger pathways between our mind and body and that helps us to try new and even harder things next time. 

4. What is your favorite Wolf School event and why?

My favorite Wolf School events would have to be the ones that strengthen our school community and the relationships between our students and their families. I, of course, love Field Day and celebrating the school year but also really enjoy Grandfriends Day and watching our students and Grandfriends take pride in our school and each other.  Events like the parent & teacher vs student basketball games are always a fun time and also Closing Ceremonies when we get to celebrate our students’ achievements is also something that I look forward to.

5. Can you share your favorite quote with us

A quote that had stuck with me through the years was written by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

“Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality. Be active, be energetic, be enthusiastic, and faithful, and you will accomplish your object. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wolf is lucky to have Mike as part of our team! To learn more about other Wolf Staff, read some of our past We Are Wolf interviews!


  1. REPLY
    Debra Bailey says

    Great article about a great educator!

  2. REPLY
    Joan Graff says

    Mike is one of Wolf’s treasured teachers. The lessons Eliza learned, with his mentorship, still serve her today (age 26). Life lessons can be challenging in the elementary years, especially with students who learn and live differently. Somehow Mike always kept the students motivated and able to persevere. He is a devoted, determined, and steady teacher, mentor and role model. We are so grateful for his influence. Wishing him the best always. The Graffs

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