by Alexis McCutchan| editor-in-chief
With a new Johnson Jaguar coat draped across his back and a walkie talkie on his hip, Gary Comalander walked into his new office, ready to take on the title of high school principal.
“It was great, had a chance to meet a whole lot people both faculty and staff, students, and quite a few parents at different events. It’s very welcoming, everybody was coming by to say congratulations,” Comalander said.
Comalander comes to the campus after serving other NEISD schools, including a middle school that was once part of the Johnson cluster.
“I have been in education for 33 years – 23 as a teacher and coach, then ten as an administrator. My last job was the principal at Bush Middle School for the last six and half years,” Comalander said.
Perhaps the biggest leap for the new principal will be tackling a campus with 3,000 students, compared to the smaller 1,300 population at Bush. Despite the 1,700 increase, he does have a plan to get to know his new community.
“Seeing people in the halls, talking to people any chance I get, going to events, the easier ones are when I see them at an outside event. The tougher ones are trying to connect with all 3,000 kids in the everyday life of the school,” Comalander said. “It will be a challenge, but just looking forward to meeting someone new literally every period of the day.”
Comalander had a different high school experience than most students now.
“When I was in high school you knew your school, and you knew people around in neighboring schools. Now, our kids work with people all over the city, all over the state, the country, and even wider, globally,” Comalander said.
While Comalander has only been on the campus a couple of weeks, he already has his own set of expectations for the student body.
“Probably the biggest areas are helping kids learn what you get by working hard and being positive, doing the right thing. You do those things and things will happen for you. We don’t always get exactly what we want, we have roadblocks that are gonna come up,” Comalander said. “But, if you work hard at it and stay positive, do the right thing, it’s gonna work out.”