“I missed the impact of working with students, staff and parents,” he said. “I wanted to get back into being part of the day-to-day operations of the school again.”
McLaughlin’s career started with 10 years of teaching elementary grades. He followed that with serving as an elementary principal for a total of 26 years, retiring in 2020 after finishing seven years at Kettle Lake Elementary in Caledonia.
He thought he was prepared to take on a new challenge. “I got my real estate license before I retired and have enjoyed helping people buy and sell homes these past couple of years,” he said.
But it didn’t take long before he answered a call to public education again. Caledonia Schools called on him to serve as an interim elementary principal for several weeks at the end of the 2022 year. The next year he moved to a position in safety and security for Caledonia Schools before getting hired as the Dean of Students at TKHS.
This is a new position at TK High School and a challenge McLaughlin said he’s looking forward to. He explained his job is multi-faceted. “I’m here to support the office staff and oversee TK Virtual School. I’m really here also to be another trusting adult in the building to make connections with students.”
He will, no doubt, quickly become a familiar face in the school helping monitor students in the hallways, during lunch periods and throughout the building each day. “I don’t think there can ever be enough caring adults in the lives of kids. I just want to be another person they can look to for help and guidance and I hope I can build the same kind of relationships at the level I was able to with the elementary students.”
He said he’s excited to see what the start of the year is like at the high school and can’t wait to meet all the staff and students. “I just want to be a valued part of this high school community and do what I can to help,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to this and glad to be here at TK.”
He and his wife live in the TK district. They love to travel, spend time with family and ride their Harley Davidson motorcycles together. “We love this community and everything Barry County has to offer.”
They have three grown children and over the years have been parent hosts to three exchange students from Germany, Italy and Spain.
Favorite Book: “My favorite book always seems to be the last book I read and that was “Atomic Habits” by James Clear. It must be good because I’ve read it twice now.”
Favorite Food: Pizza
Favorite Genre of Music: “Classic Rock is my go-to, but I like a lot of different kinds of music. It just depends on my mood.”
Favorite Vacation: Family trip to Tybee Island, Georgia
Bucket List Place to Visit: Spain
Superpower Most Like to Have: Teleportation
Person He Would Like to Have a Meal With: "My father, who passed 15 years ago. I’d love to catch up with him."