Jeanne McDonagh Retires from NCHS, Leaving an Art Legacy

After 32 years of dedicated service, art teacher Jeanne McDonagh is retiring at the end of this school year. Known for completing numerous projects not just within the high school but throughout the whole community, McDonagh once hosted a photo exchange with Afghan girls who forbidden from taking photos by the Taliban, filmed videos for the entrance of the Glass House and created a mural for the school cafeteria. 

“I started to put up anything that was posted in the newspaper about what we are doing in the arts on a bulletin board outside my classroom,” she said. “There is no room on the board because we just keep adding what we have shared with the community and connecting with them on a lot of different levels.”

Seven of McDonagh’s students have earned National Scholastic Art Awards and she has been honored by the New Canaan Museum & Historical Society as one of 19 local women to have made a major difference in New Canaan. 

“I always say ‘yes’ when someone asks if I want to be involved in something,” she said. “It opens up a world and you learn, you do, and you work. The results are always very surprising.”

McDonagh started her career in art as a teacher in New York City. 

“I walked into the classroom and thought these kids were so lovely and polite,” she said.