Perry interacts with his new students. Photo courtesy Laura Totten.
With the school year in full swing, teachers are working harder than ever, including a host of staff members who have assumed new roles at MIHS.
One of the newest additions is Associate Principal Jenny Foster.
Foster has been an educator for the past 28 years at both high schools and universities throughout Oregon and Washington. Over the last 12 years, Foster taught at Mount Si High School, where she worked primarily in Spanish, leading beginner-level Spanish through AP classes.
This year is her first as an associate principal.
As an administrator, Foster has noticed the pressure that comes from our school’s high-achieving environment.
“We are the number one academic school in the state, and it’s very complimentary to our teachers and students, but with that comes high expectations and high stress,” Foster said.
Foster enjoys the vibe present at Mercer Island.
“I love the fact that kids are attending football games and other athletic events, and are turning out for drama and musical,” Foster said.
“I think being a sole high school on an island has really caused this community to bond,” Foster remarked. “There’s great pride in that, and you see that within the families; you see that within the community.”
Alex Perry is another new face on the Island, moving from Pierce County, Wash. with his fiancée to teach Algebra 1 and 2.
To Perry, the pressure at MIHS feels different to pressure at his previous schools.
“It’s mostly pressure from parents to do well in school, making sure they go to the right colleges and get that post high school education,” Perry explained.
At MIHS, Perry says many students are “second, third, fourth generation college graduates,” whereas at his last school, many students were the first in their family to continue to post-secondary education.
Leslie Seelye is also in her first year at MIHS as a ninth and tenth grade English teacher.
She has taught both locally and internationally, including at Mount Si, in Frankfurt and Düsseldorf, Germany and near Lisbon, Portugal.
Seelye’s experience at MIHS differs greatly from her experiences in European schools.
“What’s really cool here are the traditions [MIHS has] kept,” Seelye said. “Coming into the first pep assembly of the year was really cool, because especially overseas, we didn’t have those pep rallies or spirit assemblies.”
“The bigger the school it is, the harder it is to try and maintain those traditions, when you’re trying to get 1,600 kids together,” Seelye continued.
Despite the school’s large size, and the difficulty to arrange whole school assemblies, MIHS has persevered a long history of school spirit and pride.
With more teachers and administrators arriving every year to support MIHS students, keeping up with staff members is essential.