The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High

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The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High

Pathfinder

The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High

Pathfinder

Principal prodigy: Now Dr. John McCabe

Principal John McCabe’s story of doctoral success
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Abbie McCabe
Holding his two smiling daughters in his arms, Principal John McCabe celebrates earning his doctorate degree. He attended Maryville University for two years and reached his goal of achieving a Doctor of Education: Educational Leadership degree after months upon months of hard work and long nights. “I’m not going to lie, I’m glad I have another night of my life back when I’m not at school till very late,” McCabe said. “I can spend more time with my family and with my friends [who] are here at [West]. I’m really happy about that.”

Cutting through the loud and excited chatter of the bustling cafeteria, Principal John McCabe’s newly-awarded doctorate certification was announced to students during lunch on Dec. 8. While his degree acquisition came as a sudden revelation to many students, the journey to his doctoral degree was quite the opposite, characterized by copious amounts of time and effort to secure the determination of educational leadership. After beginning his work toward higher education two years ago, during the start of his principal role, McCabe had finally accomplished earning the Doctor of Education: Educational Leadership degree, a degree for advanced education.

McCabe wanted to advance his degree to learn more about the educational side of administration; to do so, he sought out higher education at Maryville University, where he previously earned his master’s degree. McCabe participated in a cohort program, a course where students work with a group of people who share the same goal for the entire curriculum. In his case, McCabe worked with a group of peers who also aspired to be administrators for two years.

“I ended up really liking the program. I met with the professors [and] some people in my future cohort group and ultimately decided that this was the way I wanted to go,” McCabe said. “It was a big commitment. It was [also] an interesting time in my life because when I started the program, my wife was pregnant with our second child who’s now 18 months old. When I think about these [past] two and a half years, a lot has changed.”

The increased difficulty of studying educational practices, working as a school principal and taking care of kids as a parent was a time-consuming endeavor. To prioritize all aspects of his life, McCabe focused on his role as principal during the school day and made time for doctorate classes afterward.

“There were a lot of late nights where I had to go to the library and research and read and write. [My wife] was home with the kids,” McCabe said. “It takes a lot to be principal at a school [while] balancing your life and your [school] work that you’re very passionate about. Finding time to do the homework and make sure [I was] giving attention to everything was the hardest part.” 

Through all of the hardships of earning such a high degree, the constant encouragement from his coworkers and family pushed McCabe to finally reach his goal. All of the teachers and administrators at West High — along with board administrators, such as superintendent Dr. Keith Marty — supported him through his journey.

“I work with a lot of talented educators and administrators; making sure that I was sharp and learning to be the best administrator I can be kept me [going],” McCabe said.

McCabe’s passion for education and administration stayed strong throughout the process of earning his degree. Ultimately, McCabe’s motivation helped him achieve a goal he was proud of and able to celebrate after the tough two years of balancing work and school.

“This is the highest degree that anybody in my family has ever reached, and making them proud was a motivator,” McCabe said. “Being the best I can be for our students [and] families and providing the best administrative support for the school is important to me. I love being at West High and there’s a lot going on at West High that requires me to be here. I’m thankful for all the people that helped me and I’m proud of myself. [Getting my degree] was a lot of time, effort [and] work and I’m glad I achieved it.”

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About the Contributors
Keira Lang, Staff Writer
Pronouns: she/her Grade: 10 Years on staff: 2 What is your favorite piece of literature? "The Cruel Prince" by Holly Black, "Heartless" by Marissa Meyer and "Harry Potter." Who is your hero? Me, myself and I. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Fried Rice.
Zoya Hasan, Staff Writer
Pronouns: she/her Grade: 10 Years on staff: 2 What is your favorite piece of literature? I don't have one. Who is your hero? My brother because he has the positive mentality I hope to have, too. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? Katie's Pizza Pasta's Lemon Paccere (or something like that; it's absolutely heavenly).
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