Kee Principal Mary Hogan reflects on her career in education as she embarks on her retirement

They’ve always got her covered ... Retiring Kee High School and Middle School Principal Mary Hogan displays the special quilt she received that has the names of faculty and staff stitched in it. The quilt was handmade by teacher Arla Wagner and was just one of the many gifts she received in honor of her retirement earlier this month. Submitted photo.

by Susan Cantine-Maxson

Mary Hogan, a hometown girl who graduated from Kee High School in Lansing, is retiring from that same school district after nine years as its middle school and high school principal. Before becoming principal, she was a special education consultant in the Eastern Allamakee Community School District for four years.

Her professional journey began with an undergraduate degree  at Clarke College in Dubuque. She received her masters and education specialist degree from the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse. Her career included teaching for five years in southeast Minnesota in a special education coop as a school psychologist. She then moved to Faribault MN where she worked for 15 years as a school psychologist.

Her career included both elementary and secondary experiences with the last several years concentrating on the middle and high school level. While she was working at Eastern Allamakee she had the opportunity to become part of an administrative cohort which led to her position as principal.

Explaining why she chose to become a principal in a small district like EACSD, Hogan stated, “I had worked many years in education as a school psychologist. Much of it at the time was spent in  assessment and reports. I wanted to have more direct personal involvement with students.  I was able to do that in my role as principal. I like the small town atmosphere and working in a small school.  It’s much more personal than at large schools. You get to work closely with students and staff. Everyone wears many hats, which provides change and growth for all.”

She elaborated about the changes she has seen in education during her career, “There has been an increase in learning systems for students. Education now has more project-based learning and collaboration among students. Critical thinking skills have become a larger part of learning.”

During the last day of school this year for the staff, they surprised Hogan with several gifts which included a special quilt with all their names on it, made by teacher Arla Wagner. In addition, a car parade with signs congratulating her came up the ramp driveway in front of Kee High School.

Hogan said, “I was really touched and surprised by that. It was a special way to end the year. They are a great group of people.”

Hogan intends to stay in the Lansing area for now, especially since her daughter has chosen to go to Luther College in Decorah. Hogan said, “I look forward to watching her next adventures. For now, we have a cabin in Wisconsin where we spend a lot of time in the summer. I’ll enjoy reading and playing cards with friends. We also enjoy spending time with friends in the Minneapolis area.”

Hogan concluded, “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Kee High. I will miss the students and staff. The students have fun, work hard and excel in academics and activities. The staff is the best - caring, hard-working and they put their all into the student’s best interest. I will truly miss this place.”

Faculty, staff and students will miss Hogan as well. Several co-workers describe her leadership as welcoming, where students and faculty could stop by any time to discuss a concern or pitch a new idea. She believed in the capabilities of her staff and promoted team collaboration in order to help Kee students become successful. Staff  members offered their best wishes for retirement.

Chad Winters stated, “Thank you for providing so many opportunities for our students at Kee High, it helped make it a very special place!”

Dr. Dale Crozier, Superintendent of the Eastern Allamakee District said, “Mary Hogan was an awesome administrator. Mary always had the best interest of the students in mind when she made her decisions, and that is obvious to see. We have a dedicated teaching staff, our test scores continuously exceed the state average, and that does not happen by accident. Ms. Hogan was the point-guard that made our academic strategies come to realization for many years in a row. I am honored to have worked with her.”

Gracie Vinson, a 2020 graduate of Kee High School, summed up Hogan’s career: “Ms. Hogan was a very good principal at Kee High. She always made sure everyone was happy and that everything ran smoothly. She taught so many students very important lessons; she taught us right and wrong. She always had a smile on her face whenever I’d see her and she had the best style of clothing. I’m very grateful to have had her as a principal. And I know that the future is so bright for her. She has so many amazing things ahead! And I wish her the best of luck in what she wishes to do from now on!”

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