Teachers and students returned from spring break this week to learn that Mary Johnson, who has served as San Marino High School’s principal for 13 years, will retire at the end of this school year.
“With mixed emotions, I announced to the high school staff today that I will be retiring on June 30 at the end of this school year,” Johnson said in her prepared announcement. “The past 13 years at San Marino High School have been a gift in my life and it is not easy to say goodbye to our dedicated staff, amazing students, exceptional parents and community members who cannot do enough for our school. I thank you for welcoming me to the school and community. I shall hold you in my heart forever.”
Johnson publicly announced her decision on Monday, March 27, through the SMHS online newsletter subscription. The search for her eventual replacement already has begun, according to San Marino Unified School District Superintendent Alex Cherniss.
“She’s been just a tremendous part of the high school and the San Marino community,” he said in a telephone interview Monday. “We hate to see her go, but, personally, I’m excited for the next phase of her life.”
Cherniss said there will be a comprehensive search to hire the next principal for SMUSD’s only high school and the eventual hire could come in-house or nationwide. He said he hopes to fill the position before the current school year ends.
“It’s going to be a hard position — big shoes — to fill, but at the same time, it’s an opportunity to bring in a strong candidate to build off the success we’ve had,” Cherniss said.
In a text message, SMUSD Board of Education member Nam Jack said it “will be sad” to see Johnson retire, but praised the work she has done for the district.
“She has been invaluable to the district for so many years in different capacities, most recently as SMHS assistant principal and principal,” Jack said.
Johnson did not return phone calls by press time.