HINSDALE – If Michael McGrory could tell his students one thing, it would be to not feel pressured to have a solid plan for the future by the time they hit ninth grade.
“I think one of the things that a lot of educators would say is that children grow up so much faster now and they feel pressure to have to know what they want to do with their lives,” said McGrory, principal at Hinsdale Central High School.
This is advice coming from a man who has been in education for a long time – originally as a social sciences teacher in the Iowa City school district where he taught junior high and high school.
McGrory said he’s now making the difficult decision to return to Iowa, where he has accepted the principal position at Muscatine High School. He said family played a major role in his decision, as his daughter will be graduating from Hinsdale Central this year and attending the University of Iowa.
Since his time at Central, McGrory said he couldn’t think of a single memory that stood out to him because every day was special.
“The combination of the students here, the parents and the staff, they’re just outstanding,” he said. “Probably most enjoyable is just the opportunity to work with those three different groups.”
Even though McGrory instructs others to find their passion, it didn’t take him long to realize education was his.
“I got involved like most people did in order to make a difference,” he said. “I knew when I was in college, even high school, education was where I felt like I could make the biggest difference.”
Eventually, McGrory went on to become principal at Ames High School in Iowa for 10 years. Three years ago, McGrory accepted the job at Central because of the unique opportunity he saw at the high school.
“I hadn’t been out of the state of Iowa, so having that opportunity to live in the Chicago area was exciting, too,” he said.
McGrory also has two other children living in Iowa and another in Kansas City.
He will remain principal at Central until June 30. And wherever he ends up even further down the road, he knows he’ll be doing what he loves.
“I’ve never really thought about any other occupation,” McGrory said.