Ferndale School District hires new principal at UHS in restructuring move

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published August 8, 2018




FERNDALE — A restructuring at University High School in Ferndale has led to the hiring of a new principal.

Ferndale Public Schools hired Johanna Mracna July 23 as the new leader of UHS, located at 2521 Bermuda St. She previously was a science and instructional lead teacher at the school for the last 12 years.

“I love UHS. I love our students. I love our staff, and it is a building that has been uniquely built from within. So I saw an opportunity for strong internal leadership,” Mracna said of her decision to seek the principal job.

Mracna said there are many grassroots initiatives from the teaching staff over the years that have become successful.

“We have a very strong teaching staff who’s very innovative and very creative, and our history has had very strong internal leadership to develop that kind of culture and creativity,” she said. “My goal is to continue that as the new leader.”

Previously, UHS had three co-principals in Jason Beatty, Derek Adams and Brian Alford. District Superintendent Dania Bazzi said that as the school only has about 430 students, it was more efficient to have a principal/assistant principal structure.

“When UHS started, that’s the structure that they did have. There was a principal, assistant principal, and throughout the course of its history, it’d been changed to a co-principal structure,” she said. “For me, I’m really looking for a building leader who is really responsible for the overall learning and success of that building.

“That’s kind of why I believed it was best for the building, best for staff to be able to have … one person that everyone knew is the person who is leading our building and ensuring our overall success,” Bazzi further said.

According to district Director of Communications Bill Good, Beatty left for another job. He said Alford and Adams remain employed in the district, but wouldn’t comment on if they were interviewed for the principal position.

During the interview process, Bazzi said, Mracna demonstrated all the qualities they were looking for in a principal: someone who is not only a leader, but also someone who is continuously looking to make things better for the students and who has a passion and love for UHS.

“Johanna has been a longtime teacher (and) leader within that building for over 10 years,” she said. “She knows the building. She knows the students. She knows the staff, and I have full faith that she will be able to work well and have great success as the principal of that building.”

The first day of school for UHS will be Tuesday, Sept. 4. Mracna said one of her goals as the new principal is “leadership for all,” meaning providing leadership opportunities for both students and staff in the building, supporting those leadership initiatives, and allowing the culture of creativity to continue.

“I’m very excited for the year to start, and I’m very excited for our students to come back,” she said.