The president of Totino-Grace High School resigned after revealing to leaders of the Catholic institution that he is in a committed same-sex relationship, the school announced Tuesday.
“I love the Totino-Grace community, however, I need to be truthful about my life,” William (Bill) Hudson said in a news release issued by the school.
Shortly afterward, in a statement of his own, Hudson said that while Friday’s decision was “heartbreaking and painful,” it also was “freeing to be open about the most important thing in my life.” After 20 years of service to the church, he said, he now could live an “authentic life” devoted to his two children and his partner of 18 years.
In the past, he said, he had placed church ahead of that family.
At his home Tuesday night, Hudson declined to comment beyond his written statement.
Hudson revealed the relationship during a conversation with Mark Motzel and Mary Wilcox, co-presidents of the school’s corporate board, whom he met with periodically in his CEO-like role at the Fridley school, Motzel said Tuesday. Before the most recent get-together, Motzel and Wilcox had become aware of information that Motzel described only as “inconclusive,” and the conversation took a personal turn.
“We asked him whether there was anything he felt we should know,” Motzel said. “He informed us that he was in a committed same-sex relationship.”
Motzel declined to discuss what the board leaders had learned earlier. The meeting was not adversarial, he said. As for whether the co-presidents were surprised, Motzel said: “I will say that we were not aware of this before.”
Hudson had been an administrator at the school for nine years, first as vice president for mission in 2004 and then as president beginning in July 2011.
In the school’s news release, Motzel said that Hudson had an “excellent record of accomplishment and provided strong academic and financial stewardship at Totino-Grace during his tenure. [But] leading a Catholic school while living in a committed same-sex relationship is not consistent with the teachings of the Catholic church.”
Julie Michels, the school’s principal, will serve as interim president as the board searches for a permanent replacement.
According to a biography since removed from the school’s website, Hudson came to Totino-Grace after serving as associate executive director of the secondary schools department of the National Catholic Educational Association in Washington, D.C. Before then, he was an assistant principal and teacher at Hill-Murray High School in Maplewood, and a middle school religion teacher at the former Trinity Catholic School on St. Paul’s East Side.
Carter Leuty, a parent representative on the Totino-Grace board, said Tuesday night that Hudson was a “wonderful person” whose commitment to the students’ academic and spiritual education earned him the “utmost respect” of all segments of the school community.
“I’m delighted to be his friend,” Leuty said. “I’m very sad that he no longer will be a part of the Totino-Grace experience.”
Leuty, asked if he had any inkling that Hudson was in a same-sex relationship, said that he would defer that question to the board’s co-president.
The meeting during which Hudson opened up about his personal life occurred within the past couple weeks, Motzel said, and some time elapsed before his eventual decision to step down. Hudson had not been asked to resign, and the board had not scheduled a meeting to discuss a possible dismissal, the co-president said.
Could he have continued on? Motzel was asked.
The school, he replied, is built on a foundation of Catholic faith and being in a same-sex relationship is not consistent with the Catholic church.
“And Bill voluntarily resigned,” he said.
Hudson, in his statement, said that he loved being a part of the Totino-Grace community.
“I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity to meet some amazing people, to touch hearts and to have been blessed by so many,” he said.