Q & A with Mr. Browne about His Time at NDA, His Future Plans


Nick Bumgardner, Editor-in-chief, Online Tritonian

Q. As you see the finish line to your days at NDA, what are some of the moments you’ll never forget?

“I will never forget the freshman theology class I had…with Fr. Christian and all of those guys.  That was a great year!  I will also never forget, for a brief period of time, being pressed into service to be AD, principal and president all at the same time.  That was quite a bit of juggling, but it was only a short period of time.  I will never forget being on the floor after the girls’ basketball state championship in GB.  That was a really good moment.  I will also never forget just how many good people are involved with Notre Dame.  There are just a lot of people that do their part to make this a really good school.”

Q. What are you most proud of about your time at NDA?

“I’m proud that this school went through a lot of difficulty but was able to maintain its high standards, and students are still achieving very well despite what were some very difficult times in our country and, more specifically, our school.”

Q. What plans do you have for the immediate future?  Longterm? 

“My immediate plans are varied.  I don’t have a plan to get another job right away.  I’m intentionally taking some downtime in order to discern where I can use my talents.  It’d be easy for me to try to just get another job, get another job, get another job.  That’s not what I’m trying to do.  I’m trying to determine what it is I’m being called to do in this last stretch of my journey.  Additionally, in the short term, I will be continuing to run as long as I can stay healthy.  I’m hoping to run the Marquette Trail 50 in August.  If I can qualify, I’d love to run the Vermont 100 later in the year.  Those are some very personal goals, but I’m also looking forward to being with my wife for an extended period of time.”

Q. Can we expect to see you around NDA in the upcoming year?  Any events you’d like to see or attend?

“I think if I’m invited, I would come back.  There are certainly many students I’d like to see graduate, and I’ve told a couple of students that if they make it to the state championship that I’d come watch.  And, of course, I was joking with Ms. Hearden that if she gets to August 15 or 16 and is in dire need of a teacher, she can give me a call!”

Q. What will you miss most as you leave NDA?  Will the transition be difficult?

“It’s always interesting being principal.  There’s always things that are coming up…When you’re working full time, your time is claimed.  You have to put so many hours into the job.  Consequently, you’re dealing with things that come to you that have to be addressed…When you’re not working, you have to create your own agenda.  You have to come up with your own plans.  It’s almost like, in a small way, when you’re running your own business, you have to come up with what you’re going to do today.  There’s never been a question as principal like ‘what am I going to do today?’  So, I’m interested to see what I get involved in if I have the time to get involved.  I think there will be times where retirement is slow, but most people I know eventually get used to that and find ways to structure their lives.”

Q. What are the best and the worst parts of being principal? 

“Anybody in education will always tell you the best part of education is working with students.  They’re youthful, optimistic, energetic.  The most difficult things are when situations arise where students are not doing their best, and you’re trying to get them to have goals, a purpose, drive…sometimes students kind of lose that ‘zip,’ and in losing that, it gets to be hard.  They start to get in trouble, they start doing things that are not good for themselves, their grades slip.  You can’t always fix it like you can fix a car…you want the students to be engaged and fired up and ambitious, and when they’re not, it gets to be really problematic.”

Q. What parting words do you have for NDA students and staff?

“Be appreciative of one another…Continue to move forward in a direction that you hope will bring you joy, and do the thing that you really think you’re being called to do.  A lot of times we feel like if we don’t do something, we’re going to make somebody disappointed, and so we might go into a field or a career where we’re trying to make someone else happy.  Follow what brings you bliss.  Follow what makes you happy.”

See the gallery below to relive Browne’s time at NDA: