Chief Sealth High School
"John made his homecoming complete when he purchased
the home he grew up in. "
John Boyd’s first day as principal at Chief Sealth High School was a little like déjà vu all over again. A former Chief Sealth basketball and baseball star, John graduated from the school in 1982 and went on to play basketball for the University of Montana’s Grizzlies, attending on a scholarship.
With degrees in Spanish and Business, John started out in sales. Although he was successful, he felt something was missing. That’s when he began exploring a career in education. “I applied to be a substitute instructional assistant and did everything from secretarial work to assisting in kindergarten classes,” said John. “They then hired me to work part-time as a bilingual assistant. That’s when I decided to enroll in a Master’s of Education program.”
Prior to returning to Chief Sealth, John headed the Seattle Public School’s Secondary Bilingual Orientation Center. His experience at his alma mater forged his love of different cultures. “Even when I attended high school here, the community was very diverse. I remember this young student from Vietnam. I don’t think he could speak a word of English, so we would play ping-pong together and count up the score in Vietnamese. To this day, I can still count up to 21 in Vietnamese.”
Like a true athlete, John has a game plan for Chief Sealth High School. “I have three goals for the school. First and foremost is to increase academic achievement, reducing the gap among minorities. Second is to improve the image of the school. And third is to recruit more students from the neighborhood.”
By all accounts, improvements are already visible. The school added several Advanced Placement courses to its curriculum, and administrators are looking into additional programs which would enhance students’ learning experience. And recently, Chief Sealth students arranged to have a traveling exhibit of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum displayed in the school library. “The kids did everything from raising sponsorship dollars to building display cases. It was a positive experience for both the school and the community as a whole.
“I grew up in the Delridge neighborhood. I played in the parks and my dad coached my baseball team. Many of my friends still live in the neighborhood and some even have children who are students at my school. With all of the exciting changes taking place, there’s a tremendous optimism,” said John. “It’s my intention for Chief Sealth High School to play a key role in those positive changes.”