When we told our family “International Falls,” they said “What?” “Are you crazy?” “And with that we headed north,” said Daniel McGonigle, the Community Education Director at International Falls Public Schools.
McGonigle had been a journalist for the bulk of his professional career; but coaching varsity boys soccer and directing the One Act Play program in Caledonia, MN, led him to obtain his licensure in Community Education.
“This is my first Community Education Director job out of my Master’s program,” McGonigle said. “Working with and leading young kids made me realize I needed to be more on the front lines of helping kids achieve their goals and dreams. Community Education made sense given my experience in community journalism. Plus, it is a passion of mine as well.”
His wife Emily and children Ezra (grade 10), Hannah and Evan (twins, grade 6), relocated with him to the hinterland. “The kids miss their friends back in Caledonia,” McGonigle said. “And COVID hasn’t helped by way of being able to make a lot of new ones, but we continue to settle in.”
McGonigle accepted the position in November of 2019. They relocated in January 2020. His wife, Emily, followed soon after.
“She was fortunate to get a position right away with Northland Counseling,” McGonigle said. “However, she has since obtained a supervisor role at Range Mental Health, which is similar to the role she held in La Crosse, WI. She is a passionate, agent for change and wants to make the world a better place.”
Like her time in Caledonia, Emily has been elected to the school board in International Falls as well.
“She is passionate about making sure our children have the best education they can,” McGonigle said. “Her thoughtful approach and knowledge and training help her make informed decisions around educational well-being, mental health and topics related to the importance of a quality education. I know you’ll see positive things come as a result of her contributions.”
McGonigle himself continues to settle into the role of Community Education Director. “I still haven’t felt like I’ve hit my stride,” McGonigle notes. “Two months into my tenure, COVID hit, and we’ve been reacting and changing ever since. I’m very relational in my approach to my community and I’d like to get out and better make connections. I hope 2021-22 school year will allow for more of that.”
The McGonigle’s have a total of eight children, ranging in age from 27 down to twins who are age 12. In their spare time they enjoy being out on the lake, spending time with family and each other, movies, gardening, music and concerts, fishing, hunting, fantasy football, soccer and making their community a better place to live.
Daniel is involved in International Falls Rotary Club, he is on the board of the Falls Hunger Coalition, the Area Aging Options Board, the Borealis Bards Board and is the One Act Play Director for Falls High School. Emily serves on the ISD #361 school board.