Catholic Central Science Teacher Mark Gagnon lightheartedly says that he fell into the teaching profession, an understatement given his profound dedication to his students. Mr. Gagnon’s teaching journey began like many other undergraduate students’ journeys, looking for a profession with the right fit.
“I went to school to study Biology. In my junior year, I had to decide what I was going to do with my degree. I started taking education and methods classes, and I graduated as a Michigan certified teacher,” said Mr. Gagnon.
Mr. Gagnon completed his first year of teaching at a public school in Kingman, Arizona. Returning to Michigan, Mr. Gagnon was installing kitchens when he received a call from Fr. Phil Acquaro, CSB, Catholic Central’s principal at the time.
“I interviewed on Friday, my brother got married on Saturday, and school started Monday,” recalled Mr. Gagnon. “I planned to stay a year, but it soon became 38 years.”
While Mr. Gagnon’s career may have started spontaneously, it was easy to plant roots after finding a home at Catholic Central.
“I believe strongly in the mission of Catholic Central and take great pride in creating an environment which fosters those ideals,” said Mr. Gagnon.
In fact, Mr. Gagnon has coached a total of 50 athletic seasons at Catholic Central, between golf, lacrosse, basketball and football. In 2018, he was inducted into the Catholic High School League Hall of Fame for his dedication to student athletics.
“It is extremely important to build student-teacher relationships in places and activities outside of the classroom,” said Mr. Gagnon.
Taking pride in sharing some of his hobbies with students, Mr. Gagnon has moderated the shotgun and archery clubs for 11 years and the backpacking club for 23 years. He provides the equipment and gear needed for the clubs at no charge to students and says many students have found their niche in one of his clubs.
Mr. Gagnon’s efforts do not go unnoticed. In 2014, he was selected as the 2013-2014 Archdiocese of Detroit Teacher of the year, which is awarded to educators who create a school culture that is proudly Catholic, academically excellent, accessible to all, and sustainable for the future.
“Mr. Gagnon is a phenomenal teacher that knows how to make difficult topics capable of being understood by high school students,” said Junior Jack Sharkey. “He also makes every class enjoyable in whatever way he can, telling stories or jokes that will not only keep class engaging, but also make it easier to understand and remember the content.”
Aside from joining one of the clubs Mr. Gagnon moderates, students can take one of the many honors classes he teaches – Biology, Environmental Science, and Anatomy.
Teacher Fast Facts:
Favorite food: “Tough question. I really enjoy most cuisines. I will go with Southwest cuisine.”
Favorite band/artist/musician? “I am very eclectic in my musical taste. Each day during the passing time, I play a song of the day. Each new day starts with a new song. My list includes artists from the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Van Morrison, Thornetta Davis, Stevie Ray Vaughn and the Bottle Rockets.”
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? “I spend most of my free time doing outdoor activities. Hunting, fishing, backpacking, golf.”
Fun Fact: “I am a novice guitar player.”