Gary Pogue

When the school year starts Aug. 21 at Mark Twain Elementary School in Angels Camp, students will be introduced to a new principal, Gary Pogue.

Pogue is a Mokelumne Hill native with a 25-year background in school counseling. He was offered the principal position by Mark Twain Union Elementary School District (MTUESD) Superintendent Julia Tidball and the Board of Education after a round of interviews last month.

He was appointed after former principal, Wendy DeSimone, resigned earlier this summer to take on a position with Modesto City School District.

Pogue’s first day at work was Aug. 1, and he has already “hit the ground running,” according to Tidball.

“He has a great attitude and lots of energy,” Tidball told the Enterprise on Aug. 5. “We’re very excited that he’s joined our team.”

Pogue’s previous employment was with Stockton Unified School District, where he worked as a counselor and interim principal. Over the years, he has worn many hats, serving in various counseling and administrative roles. His wife, Michelle Pogue, is a special education teacher for Natomas Unified School District. Their son Adam is attending college and also works as a student assistant for the California Department of Education.

In an interview with the Enterprise, Pogue said his counseling background is helpful in tackling an administrative position, providing guidance in how to communicate with parents and students.

When asked what he hopes to bring to Mark Twain, Pogue described plans to take the school to the “next level,” incorporating more academic extracurricular activities such as Academic Decathlon and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) projects.

“When our kids graduate from Mark Twain School District and go to Bret Harte, we’re going to have the best kids going into that school,” Pogue said. “We’re going to work and make this school one of the best in Calaveras.”

The new principal said that he has been welcomed warmly by district staff and is currently busy “getting everything ready” for the new school year.


Dakota graduated from Bret Harte in 2013 and went to Davidson College, NC where she earned a bachelor's degree in Arab studies. After spending time studying in the Middle East and Europe, she is happy to be home, writing about the community she loves.

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