The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

Q&A With Fran Irvin

Assistant Principal Fran Irvin discussed her decision to step down from her position as assistant principal and be placed in another school in the county.

 

Can you briefly describe why you decided to step down?

I love this place, so don’t get me wrong. I’m not leaving. I’m not stepping down from assistant principal. What happened was, Dr. Garran met with the other three assistant principals and actually spoke with them, and said one of those three was going to have to go. I have seniority as an administrator because I’ve been an administrator here for 11 years at MCPS. So seniority rules. Well I don’t look at it that way. When you’re in a school, it’s more like a family. I was the new one, so I should be the one that’s out. So that’s why I stepped up and told Chris [Garran that] I need to go. Nobody wants to go.

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How would you sum up your stay at WJ so far in a sentence or two? Why?

Surreal. That would be a good word. You know what I call this place? Neverland. It’s a great place, because the kids and the faculty. It’s wonderful, because of the caliber of the teachers and the quality of the students. I get emails all the time from people who are mad at me for leaving, which is hysterical. [I didn’t] think that [I’d] be missed, but when I got the outpour from these people…. It makes a huge difference. But you only affect change for as long as you’re here.

Has this shaken your resolve to leave?

No. We’ll still have another administrator come in. But it’ll be different; it’ll be the ASA. It’s hard for anybody to have to go, but somebody has to go. I’ve been here the shortest amount of time, but time is irrelevant when you see the kind of impact you make. It’s hard.

What do you plan to do immediately after leaving WJ?

I’ll be placed in another school, but I don’t know which one. It’s a cool adventure, wherever it is you go. So you just take a little bit of it with you. That’s what I’ll take. This is just another adventure on my life’s path. My life’s highway.

Do you think you’ll keep in contact with any of your coworkers?

I still keep in touch with some of my staff from [ Texas ], and I’ll keep in touch with some of these guys. You make friendships that will last. And it’ll be the same.

What has been your favorite aspect of working at WJ?

I’ve got a couple, but…. I would say the kids. I’m amazed at the kids’ wanting to just hang out here, even on Friday nights. I’m in the science department, and God bless her, Carolyn Berger-Ott and I were good friends. I would walk into Carolyn’s room and there would be nine [students]. They would be working on different physics stuff, and we’d talk about it. There aren’t any other schools where kids and teachers hang out on a Friday night at a school, talking about… stuff. And these kids were talking about physics and worm holes and stuff like that, but…it wasn’t for disciplinary purposes. They were here because they wanted to be here, and teachers are here because they want to be here with kids. Now, is there anything cooler than that? I don’t think so. Where do kids want to be? Isn’t that kind of odd? It is, it’s kind of odd. And I think that’s awesome.

Do you come in contact with students a lot, working as an assistant principal?

Oh, yes. And kids are just cool.

What has been your least favorite aspect of working at WJ?

My least favorite part…. Um…. No. You know, no. That’s why I call this place Neverland. You know, like Peter Pan? I have worked at other places. Dr. Garran really lets [the staff] do their job. So for the teachers who have not worked anywhere else but here, they need to understand that it doesn’t get any better than this. The students, I think, represent very well. What I tell my students is, ‘you represent yourself, your family, and Walter Johnson wherever you go, during the time that you’re here’. It takes an individual, really, to step up and say ‘what if I want to do A, B, or C?’ And if they don’t get an answer, they keep asking, which is great. I think we create, more so than not, a group of thinkers. We teach our young people to think and to problem solve. And that is what you’re going to need. I’m always amazed at our young people. So that’s what I think I’ll miss. But I think everywhere, you can be amazed if you want to be. And you can always be disillusioned if you want to be. But I’m always the glass is more than ¾ full kind of person. Because, oh my God, if you wake up and you don’t like it….. I’m a very optimistic person. I really am. This has been a good adventure. I’m glad for it.

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About the Contributor
Abby Singley
Abby Singley, Online Editor-in-Chief
Abby Singley was on the Pitch staff since her sophomore year, and as a senior, she was Online Editor-in-Chief and the Print Copy Chief in 2010-2011. The previous year, Abby was the first online editor-in-chief, and was also a copy editor during her sophomore and junior years. She is excited to be involved with the up-and-coming Pitch Online and help bring news to the WJ community in a faster, more innovative way. When not scanning the online administrator page or copy editing articles, Abby likes reading pop culture and news magazines and Web sites. Although she does not know where she is going to school yet, Abby will be entering college as a journalism major next year.
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