Meet NDA’s New Learning Resource Specialist, Mr. Cassidy McGowan

Maureen Schick, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Can you tell us a little bit about your background?

I was born and raised in Milwaukee until the age of 7, which is when I moved to Indianapolis. I stayed there until I left for college, which is when I returned back to Milwaukee to attend Marquette University.  After graduating from Marquette, I got married in 2006 and moved to Washington, D.C. for 3 years, where I taught 5th grade and got my Special Education Degree from Catholic University of America.  After three years in Washington, D.C., I moved to Green Bay in 2009 with my wife.  I taught from 2009-2015 at Luxemburg-Casco High School as well as coached 8th grade basketball and cross country.  

How did you develop a passion for your job? Was there a specific moment?

I was very dyslexic when I was younger, which resulted in my hatred to read for the longest time. As I neared the end of high school, however, I decided to really concentrate hard on reading and improving, which I did.  Even though I still can’t spell to save my life, I have improved greatly in my reading skills.  A few years ago, I sent my father a book called Team of Rivals, which is still my favorite book to date.  Supposedly, he started crying (I wasn’t there when he opened it) because he had seen me go from a complete non-reader to loving to read.  It was because of this experience that I realized I wanted to spend my career helping students similar to me.  

How do you see your role here at NDA?

I see myself as a resource for parents and teachers but, above all, students.  I can use my experience and expertise to help students find success in and out of the classroom.  I think my role is ever-changing with the incoming and outgoing students, but I want to establish a trusting relationship with all that I encounter and be a positive role model.

What is your initial impression of the school?

Notre Dame has many of the characteristics I want in a school, such as love for all, support and a positive outlook.  This school rocks, and I can’t wait for my three children to come here.

What are your jobs as Learning Resource specialist?

I am here to provide support and craft programs that will guide students on their quest to reach their full potential.  I also want students who may feel ashamed about their disorder to feel at ease with the way he/she was created by God and to understand and utilize their resources, such as an audiobook for a struggling reader.  Each person, regardless of cognitive abilities, has dignity and something valuable to share with the world.

What do you hope to achieve in your position here?

I hope to be a source of encouragement for both students and my colleagues.  

What are some things NDA students may not know about you?

I love playing my bagpipes, which you can see me playing by the practice field before most Packer games. I first fell in love with it when I took my honeymoon in Ireland, and Mr. Gray and I have already played together after school. Also, I have three children: two sons and a daughter that I love dearly. My wife graduated from NDA in 2001.  I ran cross country in high school with a personal record of 16:19 and now help coach the team here.  My favorite pro team is the Milwaukee Bucks with the Packers being a close second.  I am friends with John Henson, and if you youtube “John Henson Lambeau field experience,” I am in the video. I have also written about a dozen opinion pieces for the Green Bay Press Gazette and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.