Mike Johnson '81 is principal of Portland High School, a large urban school with students from 51 different countries speaking 33 languages. "The school is very complex, yet the wonderful students and faculty make it work every day," he says.
The school he calls "the most precious place on earth" is also his alma mater. "I met my wife Kelly in this school when I was 15 years old," he states. Next spring he will hand a diploma to his oldest son, Michael.
His greatest job satisfaction is graduating a young man or woman who has overcome tragedy or hardship. Believing that personalized education is key, he says his greatest challenge is trying to meet the needs of every student. "If one kid falls through the cracks, I have failed the kid," he says.
What does a high school principal say about teenagers? "No matter how grown up they appear, no matter how grown up they want you to think they are, no matter what their clothes look like or what their behavior is for that day, they need you to love them and to value their lives."
Mike chose to attend Saint Joseph's for much the same reason he loves Portland High school - its personal feel, rich relationships and dedication to each student. A former basketball player who was recently inducted into the SJC Athletic Hall of Fame, he calls choosing Saint Joseph's "one of the best decisions I ever made."