Last summer Hugh Hogle IV received three job offers — one from a public school in Buffalo, one from a charter school in Syracuse and one from St. Joseph School in Penfield, which was looking for a new principal. Each of the positions had its own merits, but in the end the decision was "a no-brainer," according to Hogle, who said he believes the role at St. Joseph School is part of God’s plan for his life.
"It’s a calling. There’s a reason for it," noted Hogle, who replaced former principal Theresa Hanna at the Penfield school.
Hogle himself is a product of Catholic education. A Brockport native, he spent his elementary-school years at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary School before going on to Brockport High School.
"I have Catholicity in my blood. This kind of brought me back to my roots. I feel like God puts things in your path, and I feel like every single challenge has prepared me for this opportunity," Hogle explained.
Hogle, 35, earned his bachelor’s degree from SUNY Brockport before earning a master’s degree in special education from Nazareth University and another master’s degree in educational leadership from St. John Fisher College. Since earning his degrees he has gained professional experience in a variety of different roles and settings within the field of education. Hogle taught physical education in Atlanta, Ga., before becoming a youth-care professional and sociotherapist at Hillside Family of Agencies. He later worked as a teacher and behavioral specialist at Monroe BOCES 2; a coach, teacher and department head at Hope Hall in Gates; and a member of the leadership team in the Buffalo Public School District.
Hogle said he didn’t know too much about the Penfield school when he applied for the principal position there, but he became increasingly excited as he learned more about it.
"As I got to meet the people I realized this is like a family; this is like a community. This is a place I want to be," Hogle said. "Even when I was offered other positions, I was always hoping St. Joe’s was going to be the one."
Hogle said he’s been impressed by the lengths to which the school’s faculty, staff and volunteers will go in order to provide opportunities for their students. The school’s enrichment program, which includes clubs devoted to such varied interests as Lego robotics, drama, martial arts, golf and chess, is "through the roof," he said.
"We give our kids a lot of opportunities for enrichment. There’s just a lot going on, and I think that’s what makes St. Joe’s such a great place," Hogle said.
With more than 300 students enrolled in the school’s preschool through sixth grades, St. Joseph’s enrollment is strong, but Hogle said he is not content with merely sustaining the current enrollment. He wants to increase enrollment at the school and also plans to help implement St. Joseph’s digital-learning plan. As part of that plan the school’s teachers have begun using Google Chromebooks in their classrooms, and next year students will begin using them as well, he said.
"Right now we’re implementing our digital learning plan, to get them college and career ready with 21st century skills," Hogle said. "We want to continue to give the children a well-balanced, structured education so they’re highly prepared when they get to the middle-school level, wherever that may be."
St. Joseph’s students’ excellent results on state assessments are proof of the school’s rigorous academic program and focus on student success, he added.
"We’re here for the children," Hogle said. "I encourage everyone to realize that Catholic education is not a second-tier education. Catholic education is the upper echelon of education."