After three years leading Lumen Christi High School in Anchorage, Principal John Harmon is stepping down this summer with confidence that the school is on solid footing and in good hands.
“Stepping down from Lumen was a very difficult decision,” he told the Catholic Anchor. “Last summer I was approached about an opportunity that included another one of my passions, international travel.”
After much deliberation, Harmon decided to take advantage of the offer.
“My adventure begins in June as I travel to Australia,” he said. “I’m very excited to experience a new enterprise and hope to bring faith and compassion to other parts of the world.”
Harmon intends to keep Alaska as home base, however, and said he plans to remain involved in education, both as a member of the Alaska State Board of Education and at Lumen Christi, in whatever way incoming Principal Brian Ross may see fit.
“I will miss the community of Lumen,” Harmon said of the 7-12th grade Catholic school. “I’ve developed wonderful relationships with the faculty, staff, students and parents.”
Despite his upcoming departure, Harmon said he feels a permanent part of the Lumen community.
“When I joined Lumen, parents would tell me that although families may leave Lumen, Lumen is a family that never leaves you,” he recalled. “I’ve found this to be true and am truly blessed to consider myself as a permanent part of the Lumen family.”
Harmon praised the network of current and former students who make up that family.
“We are very proud of our current students, upcoming graduates and past alumni,” he said. “Lumen is a school to be celebrated for its strong emphasis on Catholic faith and rigorous academics.”
While admitting that the role of principal takes a lot of time and energy, Harmon said it’s a job he has “thoroughly enjoyed.”
“My greatest joys were working with the Lumen community as well as teaching various classes,” he said. “It’s been amazing to see the students grow these past few years, and to celebrate the accomplishments of the students, as well as the school.”
Harmon noted that during his tenure at the school it has become well positioned to succeed in coming years.
“During this time we’ve enhanced our faith, academic and sports programs,” he said, adding that the school also successfully completed an intensive accreditation review.
Harmon said Lumen Christi enjoys an expanding enrollment.
“In fact, the school currently has 19 students enrolled in next year’s seventh grade class and it is only April,” he said. “The school limits each grade level to no more than 20 students, so I expect there will be a waiting list for the seventh grade class, as well as a few other grades by the end of this school year.”
Harmon grew up in Alaska and is a graduate of Palmer High School. Prior to his time at Lumen, he practiced law. During his time as an attorney, Harmon taught classes at Capital University and was a regular guest speaker at Ohio State University. He also served as a past president for Charter College in Alaska.
Last year, Gov. Bill Walker tapped Harmon to sit on the Alaska State Board of Education & Early Development for a five-year term. Among the board’s duties is establishing minimum qualifications for teachers, supervisors and directors, as well as selecting a state director of vocational education.