William "Bill" Hudson, the former Totino-Grace High School president who resigned in June after revealing he was in a same-sex relationship, has been named director of institutional advancement at Mounds Park Academy (MPA) in Maplewood.

The pre-K-to-12th-grade independent school announced the appointment in a news release last week.

At Totino-Grace, Hudson was an administrator for nine years, first as vice president for mission in 2004 and then as the CEO-like school president beginning in 2011. He resigned after revealing to the co-presidents of the school's corporate board that he was in the committed same-sex relationship.

In a release issued by the school on July 2, Mark Motzel, one of the co-presidents, stated that while Hudson's work was excellent, "living in a committed same-sex relationship is not consistent with the teachings of the Catholic church."

Anger and disappointment over Hudson's departure led Sara Graham, a 2000 Totino-Grace graduate, to post an online petition seeking to assure any gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender students that "you are a part of OUR community — one that embraces love, equality and acceptance."

Within a day, the petition had been signed by nearly 300 people, many of them school alumni. It remains active on the change.org website, and now has 607 supporters.

MPA, which has students from across Washington County, has no religious affiliation.

In a statement, Jeff Suzik, MPA head of school, said that MPA prided itself on having an "open, welcoming and inclusive environment." For nearly 30 years, he added, MPA has adhered to an equal opportunity employment statement that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, among other social identifiers.

"Dr. Hudson's exceptional professional background and experience as an educator are what drew us to him as a candidate, and we feel very fortunate to welcome him into our community," Suzik said. "He's going to do great, great things here."

Hudson said in the news release that he was honored by the opportunity and inspired by Suzik's vision and leadership.

The position marks Hudson's return to the area. He had been dean of students and assistant principal at nearby Hill-Murray School, a grades 7-12 Catholic institution.


East Ridge seniors achieve ACT glory

Perfect ACT scores appear to come in pairs in Washington County.

Two seniors at East Ridge High School in Woodbury — Matthew Ickstadt and Eaman Shire — earned perfect scores of 36 on recent ACT tests, a South Washington County School District news release said.

Last year, two Forest Lake Area High School seniors — Joe Goossens and Ryan Sudo — accomplished the same feat.

The ACT consists of tests in English, science, reading and math. Each exam is scored on a scale of 1 to 36, with a student's composite score being the average of the four tests. Of the 1.8 million test-takers who graduated in 2013, 1,162 achieved a perfect score.

Ickstadt is the son of Jim and Jean Ickstadt, of Woodbury, and Shire is the daughter of Abdurahman Warsame and Muhiba Yusuf, also of Woodbury.

The students received letters of recognition from ACT chief executive officer Jon Whitmore.

For eight consecutive years, Minnesota has topped the nation in ACT scores in states where at least half of the seniors take the college admissions test.

Anthony Lonetree