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New principals at Carlynton put unity in community

| Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
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Carlynton High School Principal Michael Loughren (center) addresses a group of parents and staff during an open house at the school.

New Carlynton High School Principal Michael Loughren wore his glitter-covered powderpuff football shirt proudly Monday morning, despite its challenge to his masculinity, he said.

He said it's all part of the close-knit community feel of the district.

“Part of what attracted me to Carlynton is the sense of family among all the people involved in the school district,” he said.

Loughren, 39, who was hired by the district in August after a summer-long search for a new high school principal, came from the Plum Borough School District, where he was an assistant principal.

That close-knit community feel has helped in the transition from one job to another, he said.

“The transition has just been great because of the wonderful people that have helped along the way,” he said. “Everyone has been welcoming and inviting, and this is a great fit.”

Loughren spent eight years in the Fox Chapel School District prior to becoming an administrator, teaching mainly social studies.

“I taught the gamut, but I found a home in ninth grade,” he said. “I liked helping kids through the transition into high school.”

He wants to continue offering that help at Carlynton, where the main focuses in the high school, he said, are learning objectives and engaged student learning.

“We want the kids to be using higher-level thinking skills,” he said.

The way to implement that, he said, is through working at it every day.

“It's something we're paying attention to as a group and as individuals,” he said. “It's about revision, reflection and implementation.”

And data, said newly-hired assistant principal Tom McAdoo.

McAdoo, 46, while not new to the district, is another new administrator at the high school — he spent 20 years teaching in the district before being approved to his new position in September.

He said the time he has spent teaching puts him in a good position to help both students and the school community.

“I know so many of the families here,” he said. “We've worked elbow to elbow on all kinds of community projects. Some of the kids I'm teaching now — I taught their parents. I have the connections I've developed with kids over the past few years.”

Before coming to Carlynton, McAdoo spent two years teaching at a private school.

The Baldwin native has a wife and two daughters, and his degrees come from Penn State University and the University of Pittsburgh.

Both principals said they have a lot of learning to do.

“It's so much fun to learn about the people and what they do,” said Loughren, a father of three with degrees from the University of Pittsburgh. “It's what makes life fun — learning from the great things that go on here.”

McAdoo said they complement each other in that way — McAdoo said that while Loughren is learning the district, he is learning how to be an administrator.

“I like sharing all these things with him, but I have so much to learn from him about how to lead,” McAdoo said. “We each have so much learning to do.”

It's something he said they will work on not just with each other, but with the entire district.

“There is a strong sense of family and connections here,” Loughren said. “We're doing this together — it's not ‘me,' it's ‘us.'”

“It's like a home,” McAdoo said. “It has to be. You want it to be.”

Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5810 or mguza@tribweb.com.

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