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New principal ‘excited’ about coming to McNary High School

John Honey, soon to be principal of McNary High School, spoke to a group of students and parents at McNary. He said he wanted to learn about Keizer and is not looking to make big changes. KEIZERTIMES/Herb Swett

For the Keizertimes

“It’s not a job I was looking for, but it’s a job I’m excited about.”

That is what John Honey, soon to be principal of McNary High School, told a small group of students and parents at an evening meeting held Thursday, May 27, at the school.

Honey is involved in a three-way move of Salem-Keizer Public Schools principals, having been principal at North Salem High School for seven years.

He will succeed Ken Parshall, who will become principal of McKay High School.  Cynthia Richardson, principal at McKay, will take the same position at North Salem.

Honey told visitors that his main concern is learning the culture of the Keizer community, not making any particular changes at McNary.

“The big thing you can do for me,” he told students, “is to go to your friends and say, ‘That Honey guy is really interested about coming here.’”

He said the only other administrative change McNary is about to have is a change in athletic directors, because Mike Maghan is retiring. Succeeding him will be Ron Richards, now athletic director at McKay and a former University of Montana head football coach.

Asked whether he planned to start a Junior Army ROTC program at McNary, he said he has not been planning on it but will see how much local interest there is.

North Salem has JROTC, and Honey described himself as “a big fan” of the program because it develops leadership, teamwork and physical fitness.

Honey said he has been looking at the companies that provide textbooks and other products for McNary and has become acquainted with a few students while doing that.

Asked what his favorite school subjects were, he said he is a former English teacher who also likes art, drama and journalism. He added he was a sports fan.

The three principals take their new positions Monday, June 21.

As for Parshall, he expressed excitement about his move to McKay.

“I feel good about the opportunity of working with students and staff at McKay High School, to continue the improvements they’ve made there,” said Parshall in a separate interview.

During his seven years here, McNary’s test scores showed significant improvement. He takes his recipe for success with him.

“My plan will be to go and work with their students and their staff and their parents and their community, much in the same way I collaborated with those same groups here in Keizer in order to improve teaching and learning,” Parshall said.

Parshall also believes in support systems: “If students are struggling, we put them in a support structure to help them be more successful in class. Up to half of our students are in a math lab to provide additional support.”

Have questions? Honey can be reached at [email protected]