Profile: New Principal Mathew McClenahan joins OPHS

McClenahan: ‘There’s a fog, a vapor of achievement, then that fills every nook and cranny of this school’

Mat McClenahan has recently taken up the post of Oak Park High School principal at the beginning of the 2021-22 school year. He moved into the position after leaving his past job at High Tech Los Angeles, a charter school he helped found and run.

McClenahan’s story starts as a young wrestler growing up in a small Iowa town with a population of approximately 2,000. He eventually left for New York University in a city opposite to the one where he had grown up.

McClehahan expressed his gratitude for NYU, and continues to rep the imperial purple color on campus while reminiscing of his time being a college athlete. Among his love for teaching and wrestling, McClenahan enjoys cooking, road biking, playing chess and spending time with his two boys.

“I applied for one job,” McClenahan said. “I wanted to find a place that matched my belief that students can achieve highly, that families can be supported, that when students dream, that those dreams can be achieved.”

After his time at HTLA, McClenahan was hired as the new principal for Oak Park High School.

“Am I in awe of the students here? Yes. Am I energized by it? Yes. Am I inspired by it? Yes,” McClenahan said.

Something McClenahan repeatedly pointed out was the uniqueness of the students, parents and overall environment that Oak Park holds. He considers the job to be an inspiration and gladly invites the challenges and expectations the position holds.

“I think that this is a great opportunity here, I’m really excited about what I can help create here at Oak Park because this is a special place. And I recognized that right from the beginning,” McClenahan said.