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Past Rock student teacher to head Prairie

Melissa Gould will be the next principal of Hudson Prairie Elementary School. Gould replaces Cathy Shimon, who resigned to become the superintendent of the Clayton School District.

Gould is no stranger to the Hudson School District or the area. She did her undergraduate work at UW-River Falls and her student teaching at Rock Elementary in 1993 with Carol Kellogg Pevovar. Gould is currently the principal of Land O'Lakes Elementary School and curriculum director of the Northland Pines School District in Eagle River. Previously, Gould was a third-grade teacher in Altoona and taught Spanish at the middle and high schools there. She earned her master's degree in educational leadership from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul.

Superintendent Mary Bowen-Eggebraaten said, "Out of about 50 applications for this position, Ms. Gould stood out above the rest. The interview team of staff members, parents, principals and district administrators was impressed with her focus on students, teaching and learning expertise, leadership and warmth."

Following in her parents' footsteps, Gould is a second-generation educator. Both of her parents were teachers in Durand, where she grew up, and her father was the Durand elementary principal for many years. Two of her siblings also work in the field of education. Her older brother is a second-grade teacher and her sister works as the director of annual giving at UW-River Falls.

Gould said her job at Hudson Prairie will be to support and facilitate the work of her staff so that every student succeeds. She plans on contacting staff members by phone over the summer to get acquainted.

"I see myself as part of the team that works to support learning. I work both as the leader of that team and behind the scenes to support the initiatives and aspirations of the teachers I work with."

Gould said she has an open-door policy for parents as well as staff. She plans on working closely with the Prairie Parent Group and on holding monthly coffees with parents and neighbors to the school as a way to stay in touch. "We always want parents and community members to feel welcome at Hudson Prairie, and getting to know parents is among my top priorities."

Gould described her new school as a beautiful facility that makes efficient use of all of its space. She says the fact that the school is close to capacity is a challenge the staff and students must face every day. "The high enrollment is a concern, and it means we must work just that much harder to ensure that all our students' needs are met and that our teachers have the resources and support they need to accomplish that goal.

"Hudson Prairie is a very progressive school that offers its students countless opportunities to become lifelong learners. I am very proud to be joining a highly qualified staff that is well supported by parents. The principalship at Hudson Prairie is a dream come true," said Gould.

Initially Gould will live in River Falls, but has plans to move to Hudson in the future. Her first day on the job at Hudson Prairie will be July 6.

To contact her, call (715) 386-4248.

Meg Heaton

Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

(715) 808-8604