HUDSON — Brian Reagan may be stepping into the role of Hudson superintendent of schools, but it is not the first time he has served the community.
He was the principal of Hudson High School from 2011 to 2018.
“I’m excited to be here and look forward to the work ahead,” he said.
From principal to superintendent
Reagan graduated from Waltham High School and studied music education as an undergraduate at Boston University. He received a master’s degree at UMass Boston and a doctorate degree at Northeastern University.
“I grew up in Waltham, not too far from here,” he said. “There are actually some similarities between the two communities.”
He moved to Hudson nearly 25 years ago, as it was close to where both he and his wife were teaching.
Reagan added, “It just felt like a very welcoming and comfortable community for us.”
After their children were born, and the family became part of the Hudson community and schools, “we couldn’t imagine moving” since it felt like home, he said.
This connection was the reason that Reagan wanted to be the principal of Hudson High School.
“Word traveled fast that [John] Stapelfeld, who had been a principal at Hudson High for a long time, was retiring,” said Reagan. “I thought this would be a really incredible opportunity to play a really key role in sort of shaping, not just the schools, but the district.”
He added, “Honestly, those seven years I was there were some of the most rewarding of my career. It felt like a good fit for me.”
As the schools are an extension of the community, serving in the role and getting some important work done in the schools felt “really good,” he said.
He left in 2018 to become the assistant superintendent of schools in Wilmington to take on a new challenge and gain central administration experience. He eventually became the superintendent in Waltham.
When he learned of the opening to be the superintendent in his former school district, he saw it as “another opportunity to come back and be a part of the community again.” He noted that being a part of the town community means that his opinion can have more relevance. For example, when the schools work on their budget that impacts Reagan.
“It’s impacting me as well,” he said. “There is something to the fact [that] when you live in the community you can have conversations with your neighbors and your fellow citizens.”
As much has changed since his tenure as principal, Reagan said his current goal is to develop an entry findings report from talking to constituents in the schools.
“I need to really ask questions and do a lot of listening so that I can understand … what are the challenges facing the Hudson Public Schools,” he said.
He wants to look at the strengths and traditions in Hudson Public Schools as he has begun having one-on-one meetings with stakeholders in the community like parents, staff and the Select Board. If he understands the strengths and weaknesses in the district, he can help develop goals for the next three to five years.
He noted there are a few issues that have “bubbled to the top” from his interview process, Reagan said.
“There’s concerns about the next couple of fiscal years and what the budget will look like,” he said.
He believed they will need to work with the town to continue to adequately fund the schools. Hudson has always been supportive of the school system, and Reagan expressed gratitude for its generosity.
He said, “We want to continue to develop that relationship.”
Reagan believed that doing a better job at public relations for the Hudson Public Schools was important so everyone knows how the schools prepare students for post-school life.
This could be achieved through highlighting the accomplishments of graduates and initiatives like the biomedical pathway curriculum.
He highlighted the dual language program, which he hopes will continue to expand. He called it “a critically important program” for the Hudson Public Schools as it reflects the diversity in the town.
“I think it shows that we’re embracing that diversity and celebrating it in ways that you can’t otherwise,” Reagan said. “I’m really excited about sitting down with folks around the table to make sure we’ve got everything laid out properly so that we can continue to expand.”
He wanted to share information about these programs so that the community can “feel good about continuing to support the schools.”
He added, “We’re trying to be innovative and competitive so that we can provide the best programming for the kids.”
Returning to the Hudson schools has been “rewarding and eye opening” for Reagan, he said, and people have been welcoming. The progress in the district under the leadership of Marco Rodrigues, who has been “supportive and helpful,” has been exciting to see, Reagan said, and one thing that has changed for the better is expanded special education programming.
He said members of the school leadership like the Assistant Superintendent Kathy Provost and Director of Pupil Services Catherine Kilcoyne have been very generous with their advice so “it’s been a very positive experience.”
He hopes to continue to push forward with innovative thinking that may be “outside of the box.”
“For a long time schools were, you know, cookie cutter models, and everyone did things sort of one way,” Reagan said. “And we need to be willing to look at our own community and see what we need specifically.”