McGowan selected as new principal of Island Park Elementary

He’s worked in the Mercer Island School District for 20 years.

Joby McGowan has marked his 20th year in the Mercer Island School District by attaining a new role as principal of Island Park Elementary School.

For the last two years, McGowan has served as Island Park’s instructional coach and he’ll transition into the school’s lead position this fall after being selected as two-year principal Jon Wollmuth’s successor.

“I hope to achieve some level of satisfaction for other people, to be able to contribute to their success either as a student or as a faculty member as well as providing some support for families,” noted McGowan regarding his daily goal of working in the district. He looks forward to continuing along that path in the principal’s seat.

McGowan said that he enjoys working with kids, whom he described as the world’s lifeblood, and wants them to feel like they belong, achieve success and grow and learn.

“It’s the place to be if you want to be part of shaping the future and helping our country and our world be a place that is better for all,” he added.

Continuing Wollmuth’s vital work of fostering a sense of belonging throughout the Island Park community is exciting to McGowan, who feels he’s in the ideal spot to make an impact at his current school.

“After having been in this school for two years, I have fallen in love with it. The opportunity to continue to serve this school and the community in a different capacity was appealing,” said McGowan, who has worked in the education field for 28 years.

Within the local school district, McGowan previously taught first and second grades at West Mercer Elementary and kindergarten at Lakeridge Elementary, which is where he worked with current district superintendent and former principal Dr. Fred Rundle.

“His relationships with parents as partners and dedication to raising the bar for the learners in his classroom impressed me. This coupled with how he was a leader amongst his colleagues led me to believe he would be a great principal someday. I am just glad this is coming to fruition within our district and at Island Park,” Rundle said.

McGowan, who was raised in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, began his teaching career in that area in 1996 and made his way to Mercer Island in 2002. From 2014-15, he taught first grade at the American International School in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

For the last 20 years, McGowan has been impressed with the school district and Island community.

“The collaboration between families, community members, staff and students is unlike anything I have ever seen,” he said of helping students garner success in school and experience life to the fullest.