New Principal Happy To Be At Noel
LaDonna McClain, the new principal at Noel Elementary School, says there is nowhere she would rather be.
She grew up in Tiff City on a farm and was taught, early on, the value of hard work, she said.
She earned her undergraduate degree at Missouri Southern State College, where she played college basketball. When she got out of college, she was going into public education, and her basketball coach had taken a position at Austin Peay State University. The coach called her and said she needed a graduate assistant. McClain decided to go and get her master’s degree and stayed 15 years. She started out as a graduate assistant, became the assistant coach and eventually head coach.
Next, she went to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, as head women’s basketball coach for two years. Then, she went into public education in Clarksville, Tenn. She started out at Montgomery Central High School in Clarksville and worked her way home to Missouri. She taught in the McDonald County school system for nine years. She taught science, PE, health and coached basketball. She became the assistant principal at Noel Elementary for two years before becoming the principal. She also has her specialist degree from William Woods University.
McClain and her husband, Andy, have a home on her parents’ farm. He is also an educator. He teaches construction technology at Crowder College in Neosho. They have two sons, Eli, who is a freshman at McDonald County High School, and Dalton, who is in
“As educators, we have to constantly look for ways to help our students. I believe that one of the biggest things we can do is build relationships. Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
LaDonna McClain Principal, Noel Elementary School
eighth grade at Anderson.
McClain said being an administrator is a different level of responsibility. She never saw herself as an administrator. She always saw herself as a coach.
“As I got out of coaching, I kind of felt led to do this,” she said. “I like kids and I wanted to make a difference. It was a challenge because I had to go back to school, and I hadn’t been back to school for a long time. But once I got started, it was a good fit.”
She continued, “The thing I enjoy the most is that I’m constantly learning. Everyone has room for improvement. Education is constantly evolving, and you have to evolve with it.”
She said she enjoys working with the students and staff.
“I feel like what I’m doing can make a difference,” she said.
“As educators, we have to constantly look for ways to help our students. I believe that one of the biggest things we can do is build relationships. Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” McClain said.
She said Noel Elementary has an art and cultures night where students get to showcase their ethnic background. There will also be a carnival this fall and family nights. They are trying to get families involved, she said.
“I feel privileged to be here at Noel and to be able to work with the teachers and students and staff,” she said. “I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I’m looking forward to the year.”
LaDonna McClain is the new principal at Noel Elementary School. She said there is nowhere else she would rather be.