BY SPENCER TURCOTTE AND ANDREA GLEESON
Like more and more people in education these days, this is not Mr. Caughlin’s first career, which was in structural engineering. He went on to work in construction before he pursued a career in education, where he taught communications technology, tech design, construction and math for 13 years.
That was then.
Now in his third AWESOME year as the principal at Milton District High School, the ever-enthusiastic Mr. Caughlin sat down to discuss the school as a whole and what it truly means to have the privilege to run such a tight-knit community. More than that, the informal session also gave him a chance to let his ‘hair down’ so to speak (sorry, Sir) and move away from the more traditional “Principal’s Message” news release that he’s contributed to school news publications – until now.
Hard to believe he’s in his third year here, Mr. Caughlin noted that the fall of 2014 started off as being, “Far more energetic than the previous two.” Given the snowballing involvement in clubs, teams and school-wide events that staff and students have the opportunity to be a part of, he loves that the energy level just keeps on rising.
As a coach of the curling team, he promises that, “Curling rocks!” (ba-dum-bump)
(This may have been the all-important first pun of the session but it wasn’t the last. A selection of removable puns actually hangs on his office wall, complete with the title, “These are TEARABLE”. Yes, you may groan and roll your eyes a bit; everyone else does.)
Being a curler himself for many years, he was particularly keen to be a part of the team. (FYI, he further sold it by adding that there is only one practice a week, a ‘low-maintenance’ commitment compared to some other clubs and sports.)
When asked to name one of MD’s biggest accomplishments, Mr. Caughlin said that the, “cultural proficiency” level is definitely something to be proud of. The ability to act as a family in such a cross-cultural setting is something special.
He also noted that visitors to MD often mention the good vibe we have going. “This school has a good feel about it. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is, but there is something…” He pondered some more. “Hmmmm. It’s FAMILY!”
Mr. Caughlin figures this “family feel” is the reason that people get such a positive sense when they step through the front doors. For the most part, everybody cares about each other and gets along and that can be easily detected – even by someone who doesn’t attend the school.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are always things to improve. He wants to work towards using, “student voice more to help shape what we’re doing inside and outside of the classroom.” This can mean anything from the way the school runs, to the temperature control. Not to worry, folks – Mr. C. is well aware of the fact that we could start a hot yoga studio upstairs, and he’d like everyone to “hang in there” as he’s working on it.
When urged to describe Milton District High School in one word, Mr. Caughlin simply went with, “Awesome,” his passion and pride shining in his eyes.
It is hard to deny the strength of the unity of this high school community. Though the school’s mascot is a mustang, the saying around the school goes, It’s not the horse; it’s the herd. Mr. Caughlin echoed that, “The herd is pretty darned cool.”
So all the great stuff you’ve ‘herd’ about MD is true. (That pun’s for you, Sir.)
First Person Source:
Milton District High School