New Prin­ci­pal Happy To Be At Noel

McDonald County Press - - FRONT PAGE - Rachel Dick­er­son

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.”

RACHEL DICK­ER­SON/MCDON­ALD COUNTY PRESS

LaDonna McClain is the new prin­ci­pal at Noel El­e­men­tary School. She said there is nowhere else she would rather be.

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