Mr. Johnson Is All In!


Hayden Holmberg, Director of Technology

Mr. Eric Johnson entered the scene as the new John Marshall principal for the 2018-2019 school year, taking the position of Mr. Limberg. But exactly who is Mr. Johnson, and what are his plans for our precious John Marshall?

Mr. Johnson faced the task of dealing with the John Marshall Homecoming as his first major event of the year, and the students certainly made it a memorable one. Johnson thought it was “A lot of fun”- particularly the soccer game during lunch, which he hopes to bring back and make a main feature of the Homecoming tradition in the years to come. As for the dance, he “thought students conducted themselves very well.”

Johnson has an extensive background in education. He went to college at the University of Minnesota in Duluth, where he did a lot of skiing. His dad got on him and said he needed a job, so he got a job as a ski instructor, where he learned he loved to teach. He then got his teaching license, and moved to Manitowoc (Home of Netflix’s Making a Murderer) and became a high school teacher. He spent a total of 22 years in Manitowoc, teaching American Literature and Yearbook, and eventually becoming assistant principal of a middle school. After ten years, he moved to Rochester, and was principal of Kellog for three years. He then came here to JM.

His first impression of our school was a positive one. He said that JM is “way different than what everybody outside of JM says it is, in a good way,” and that it is a “great school with awesome kids.” His main goals for the year include identifying the things that are lacking and need to be addressed, and figuring out what is already good so he “doesn’t mess that up.” Johnson says that the biggest challenge he’s faced so far at JM is how difficult it is to manage because it’s so large, with all of its different elements and needs. His biggest concern is finding a way to “continue to make our school culture more positive than it already is.”

So what happened to Academic Seminar? Well, Johnson had the answers. The JM staff looked at the number of students using Academic Seminar, and saw it was “way smaller than the number of students not using it.” Johnson intends to find a way to bring it back and improve the program. He says a potential solution is that “Ideally, [It would happen] five days a week.” If you weren’t grabbed by a teacher, “enrichments” would be available, which would be a short “class” that appeals to students or improves the JM community. It would be 30-40 minutes long, and students would not receive credit for the classes. Johnson also stated that students may not be allowed to leave during Academic Seminar, and attendance at an “enrichment” seminar would be mandatory. Johnson said that school administration is “shooting for next year” to enact the new Academic Seminar plan. This would allow integration of clubs with the school day, but raises the question: How would clubs with mandatory attendance be able to meet with all of their members if their ability to attend was decided by if they have possibly missed a test in the past week? Johnson says before any changes will be made, it’s important to get parents, staff, and of course students input on the possible activities that would be included in the reform.

Johnson’s family includes his wife, who is a preschool teacher at Aldrich, a son who goes to RCTC, another son who goes to Century, and two dogs: a black lab and a yellow lab. Johnson says there “may be a little bit” of rivalry between him and his son, a Century student. In his free time, Mr. Johnson likes musky fishing, pheasant hunting, skiing, and working out. If he’s not doing one of those things, he’s hanging out with his family. Welcome to JM, Mr. Johnson!