Co-principal Dust shows another side of herself


Dust and Cahoon share a laugh together, as one can find them doing frequently.

One can often find Lori Dust standing with her arms crossed and a straight face, most of the time wearing jeans and a button down shirt. She has a stare that makes students talking during assemblies instantly cease and regret it. However, if you have spent any time with Dust, you would know that she has a bright smile, a loud, jovial laugh, and that she enjoys nothing more than using both.
Being a Co-principal is hard work. It takes “difficult conversations” Dust says. It’s easy to hate rules and discipline, but as Dust puts it, it is “necessary for the goodness of people.” Solid boundaries open doors for positive leaders, and Dust is comfortable enforcing those boundaries, for the good of all students.
The first thing that everyone needs to understand about Dust is that she loves Livingston. She always knew that she wanted to retire here, so she bought a house in Livingston while she was still working in Hardin. Dust says that the location and the people are what attracted her to Livingston. She enjoys hiking, floating, and spending time outdoors.
Dust has taken a long path to end up in Livingston. She started her education by playing basketball at Indiana State University. Next, she attended Indiana University, followed by Montana State University. She has obtained two Master’s degrees. She started off teaching strength training classes. First Dust worked in Indiana, before moving to work in Hardin, and then finally to Livingston. Since moving to Livingston, Dust has made it her goal to make a positive impact on the climate and culture of the school.
Melissa Cahoon has worked closely with Dust since she moved here. “Although she can come off as tough, her heart is with the kids,” Cahoon said, “She’s one of the best bosses I have ever had, but I don’t want that to go to her head,” Cahoon jokes.
It would be a tough competition to see if anyone loved the kids of Park High more than Lori Dust. She says she sees so much potential in every student, and she feels fortunate to be a part of the community. Since taking the job at Park High, Dust has offered consistency and stability within the realm of discipline in the school, but she does it all out of love for the kids of the school. “I love kids enough to go there,” Dust remarked. She added that discipline can get heavy, she tries to handle situations with dignity and respect. She tries to offer “discipline wrapped in all of the caring we can give.” Dust attributes her success in the high school to her team, which she called “solid”.
Being able to laugh at yourself and not take yourself too seriously is important. Dust is a person who lives by this. She is usually smiling, and she always has a witty comeback for any situation. One thing that Dust does not take too seriously is her nickname. She thinks that being called the DustBuster is hilarious. “Everybody likes to laugh,” Dust said. “You get to laugh quite a bit if you don’t take yourself too seriously.”
Melissa Cahoon says that Dust’s sense of humor helps her day go by faster. “It makes things lighter and less overwhelming,” she commented.
Dust says that she knows that she has not always been the most popular. However, she thinks that she has came out better, and she values the relationships that she has gained. Dust says that moving forward will take “courageous conversations, facing hard issues, and wrapping it all with love.”