Mr. Hughes Retires

Abigail Heffner, East Staff Writer

Nick Hughes, the beloved Principal of East high school for the past sixteen years, will be retiring from his position this June. Although he is sad to go, he is grateful for the lessons and experiences that the Wauwatosa community has provided to him and is looking forward to what’s to come in his retirement.

Hughes’ career has spanned over the past thirty years. Hughes began his path in education by receiving his Bachelor of Science in Education from UW-Eau Claire in 1992. After that, he worked as an Associate Principal and teacher at Mukwonago High School, and from there decided to continue his education by earning his Masters Degree in Educational administration from Marian College in 2000. Hughes then dedicated the next twenty-three years to serving the Wauwatosa School District as an administrator and principal.

Hughes is most proud of the numerous strides that were made under his leadership towards helping Tosa East become more welcoming and community oriented. Whichever career path an individual chooses to go down or background they come from at East, Hughes made it his priority to ensure that there’s “something for everybody” when they come to school. Hughes has invested a great deal of time and effort into promoting a wide variety of clubs and activities that help to make Tosa East inclusive. These include organizations such as LAUNCH, sport teams, art events, and more. Hughes is also extremely grateful for the team of educators who were able to help him achieve this goal along the way.

Nick Hughes shares an immense “sense of community” with Wauwatosa and Tosa East. Although Hughes did not attend Tosa East for high school, moving to Wauwatosa and living so close to Tosa East has really contributed to his loyalty and passion for the success of the school’s community. Hughes says that one of his memorable experiences was during the state basketball tournament in 2008 that the Tosa East Basketball team participated in. He remembers the slapping of thundersticks, the excitement and pride shared by his students, and Metallica that was being played on speakers. He says that every time that he hears Sandman on the radio, he thinks back to that moment. Hughes reflects on moments like these where his community was able to come together and celebrate each other with great fondness. 

Hughes remarks how much he’s learned from his experiences working with students. He says that one of the biggest things he’s learned working with children is the importance of “second chances” and “giving grace” to students who may be misbehaving. After working with teenagers who have different personal challenges and come from different backgrounds, Hughes has had to learn how to effectively deal with students who may be acting out and teach them how to “learn from their mistakes”, rather than taking their behavior personally. 

After his retirement, Hughes plans to travel, give back to his community, and spend more time with his family. Hughes looks forward to attending his son’s wedding in August 2024 and traveling more often with his wife. He and his wife have made plans to travel to Seattle, Washington and Quebec, and are hopeful for more vacation opportunities to come. Hughes also hopes to volunteer more, play golf, and relax after working for over 30 years.

Hughes advises future Tosa East students to “take advantage of the opportunities around [them]”, to “take risks”, and to “understand that [they] can do hard things”. He expresses that “every day is an opportunity to do those things to move forward to your future”. Hughes is optimistic about the future of Tosa East and its students and wishes the best to everyone in it.