HUDSON -- After more than 30 years working in education, Mogey McDonough had been comfortably in retirement when he received the call Hudson School District Superintendent Nick Ouellette.
Ouellette asked McDonough if he’d be interested in joining Hudson Schools as the interim Hudson High School principal.
“I just thought it was an unbelievable opportunity and one that I just didn’t think I could pass up,” McDonough said.
He came out of his retirement in Chippewa Falls this summer, attending training sessions and other events ahead of the first day of school.
“I think I’m getting a feel for the school and the staff,” he said.
McDonough grew up on the East Side of St. Paul, attending Harding High School and then University of Wisconsin-River Falls to study elementary education and athletics. He worked as a teacher for more than 10 years, first in middle school and then in high school. Then he became a principal, serving at that level for 20 years before retiring from Cadott.
As interim, this will be McDonough’s one and only year with the local school.
“I want the year to be great,” he said.
Mcdonough knows there will always be both good and bad, but he said he wants to have the majority of things be positive.
He will be open and visible during his time here, McDonough said, out in the hallways with the students between classes. He’s looking forward to interacting with students, the most fun times as a principal. Teenagers can get a bad rap, he said.
“They’re just trying to figure things out,” he said.
They're at the opening to adulthood, and McDonough said it’s neat to watch them grow and try things. At his past school he would watch as young adolescents enter and leave years later as young men and women. Though he won’t have that same chance here, he said he’ll still see a significant amount of growth.
McDonough wants the community to be comfortable with him. He encouraged people to come up, say hi and introduce themselves.
“I just want to become a member of the community,” he said.
His focus as interim is to provide support to the students, staff and school. He said he wants to make sure the students have every opportunity to learn.
After being in retirement, things are quickly coming back to him. McDonough said he has butterflies for the first day of school on Sept. 3, but they’re from excitement, not nervousness.
Ouellette was connected with McDonough through the Association of Wisconsin School Administrators. During the process to find an interim principal, the school district also worked with the Minnesota Association of School Administrators and the Wisconsin's Large District Caucus and CESA 11 to find candidates.
Associate Principal Niki Benson said McDonough will be a wonderful addition.
“He’s a relationship builder with a calm presence who will connect with our staff and students right away. He is supportive in helping us continue to move student learning forward,” Benson said.
“Right away you know that Mogey is a student-centered administrator,” Associated Principal Josh Halverson said. "His work has focused on the opportunities for ALL students inside and outside of the classroom. I do not doubt that he will make meaningful connections with Hudson students and families during his time here.”