A welcome to new MIHS principal

Spring is the time of new beginnings. Appropriately, this season the Mercer Island School District has offered the job of principal at the high school to John Harrison.

Harrison, currently a principal at a secondary school in Victoria, B.C., will begin his position this summer. He has been a school administrator for 14 years.

His hiring brings to an end a long search for a new leader at the high school.

After two tries, the district was unable to find a suitable replacement for co-principals Paul Highsmith and Donna Zickuhr by the time they left at the end of the 2004 school year. Search committees made up of staff, students and parents in the first two principal searches were unable to reach consensus on a candidate.

However, that predicament led to the fortunate hiring of Kathy Siddoway as the interim principal and Dan Peterson as interim associate principal. Both Siddoway and Peterson have done fine jobs in guiding the high school through the 2004-05 school year.

Undaunted, Superintendent Cyndy Simms tweaked the selection process and once again sought candidates. A national search brought 47 applications to be considered; a half-dozen were vetted by the committees. Two finalists were then interviewed by Simms, who made the final selection. The search, as in the past, was closed to the public to give candidates confidentiality, and encourage more candidates to apply. Harrison, who has four children, including two teenagers, is looking forward to his new job. As a Canadian, he already considers himself a neighbor and old friend.

All involved in the process apparently had nothing but high praise for Harrison.

Let's congratulate the hardworking committees and Superintendent Simms on their success, and welcome the Harrisons to our school community for what is hopefully a long tenure.

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