Posted by: Date: September 1, 2009 In:

7 a.m. Principal Johnson’s office. 45 minutes until first period

Isaiah Johnson ’96 is at his desk, weeding through e-mails that have grown exponentially since the 37-year old walked out the school doors at 7 p.m. the night before.“There are just never enough hours in the day,” he says, as the first sounds of students arriving can be heard. Behind Johnson on the wall is a poster of President Barack Obama with his familiar campaign slogan, “Yes We Can.” The image and the message resonate with Johnson for multiple reasons. Like Obama, he’s a first: the first African-American principal in the Auburn School District. This is also his first year as a principal.

He says “Yes We Can” also resonates because, “It reminds me, ‘Yes I Can’ and ‘Yes We Can’ build this school.”

It was on a basketball court that Johnson first felt his calling. He had been bouncing around different majors while a PLU student, unsure what he wanted to do with his life. The dean of students at the time, Erv Severtson ’55, suggested Johnson work as a counselor for a youth basketball camp.

“I had a blast working with kids,” Johnson says.

He was hooked – he had found his passion.

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