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Former principal honors class of 2012
John Harrison, former principal of Mercer Island High School, was the featured speaker of the class of 2012 Baccalaureate. Now Director of School Support for secondary principals in the Bellevue School District, Harrison took time to reflect upon his new set of experiences.
"I'm in a completely different role now," Harrison said. "I work with four high schools, five middle schools and two alternative schools, directly with administrators and helping principals deal with difficult situations that come up."
Harrison has found Bellevue and Mercer Island, despite their close geographical proximity to each other, to be very distinct in quality.
"MI is a unique, small island community, while Bellevue has a city at its core," Harrison said.
As an administrator, Harrison has less interaction with students than he did as a high school principal.
"I miss day to day interaction with students, parents and teachers," Harrison. "Nowadays that mostly happens when unresolved situations arise."
For instance, Harrison said that he always enjoyed going to high school events, such as band concerts, drama productions and sports games. However, he still occasionally visits Islander lacrosse and soccer games if the opportunity hits. He catches some joking flak from Mercer Island fans telling him he's standing on the wrong sideline.
"It's all in good fun," Harrison said.
His youngest daughter, Laura, of the class of 2013, will finish her career at MIHS and play varsity soccer in the fall, giving Harrison another reason to spend time in the Jungle.
"But I won't be able to hand her a diploma when she graduates," he said, which he did for his three older children, Jen (2007), Megan (2008) and John (2010).
Now Harrison is looking towards the future by earning superintendent credentials from Western Washington University. However, he is satisfied with the way his 20-year career as a principal turned out.
"I enjoyed all aspects of the job," he said, "especially working with kids. It's gratifying for us as parents and teacher to see how they turn out. It makes us realize we did a good job."