Who am I? Why am I here?

Most folks don’t remember the name Admiral Stockdale, but they may remember his famous line at the 1992 Vice Presidential debate–“Who am I? Why am I here?” Well, I’m not a politician and I definitely hope to do better than Admiral Stockdale and Ross Perot did (look it up kids if you don’t know who these people are). But as I take the helm as the new Principal at Howard High School, you may be wondering just who I am and maybe just a little bit about why I am here (or more appropriately, what I hope to do at Howard). So here’s my story (I’ll try to be brief):

  • I earned a B.A. in English and History from St. Mary’s College of Maryland, an M.Ed. in English Education from the University of Maryland, and a certificate in Administration from McDaniel College.
  • I taught English at River Hill High School for six years and was fortunate to have classes at all ability levels and all grade levels. During that time, I was also a JV Volleyball coach, class sponsor, NHS co-sponsor, and 9th Grade Team Leader. It was actually my role as 9th Grade Team Leader that led me into administration.
  • I was an assistant principal for four years (two at River Hill and two at Glenelg) before returning to River Hill as principal, a position I held for five years.
  • My experiences have given me a strong appreciation for the 3 A’s of a successful school: academics, athletics, and activities. I value everything about the high school experience and know that a well-balanced participation in all three areas makes for a fantastic student and parent experience in high school.
  • Other than English and History, my favorite subject areas include science and CTE since I attended a Science Tech Magnet high school growing up and actually started off as a biology major in college.
  • Some of my professional interests are technology, building student leadership, and writing instruction. In my very limited personal life (I tend to throw myself into my work), I am a Lego enthusiast and a Twitter junkie–be sure to follow me @Principal Novak.
  • I live in the area with my wife, who also works for HCPSS, and our son, Justin, who will be starting kindergarten this Fall. You’ll definitely see them around at games, musical performances, etc.

When it comes to what I hope to do at Howard, my answer is still evolving since I am still learning about the strengths of the school and community as well as the areas for continued growth and improvement. In the month or so since I became principal at Howard, I have been like a sponge, soaking in as much information about the school as possible. I’ve looked at data; I’ve talked to staff members and parents; I’m looking forward to hearing from students at a leadership luncheon today. I also created a survey to get feedback about what everyone likes about Howard and what opportunities they see for the future of our school. (If you haven’t completed the survey, feel free to do so!)

There is a lot to learn, but two things have stood out so far in all of my “research” so far: 1) there are so many great things going at Howard and 2) there are so many great people (students, staff, and parents) who are passionate about and committed to the success of the school. I am excited to build on that success and be a part of a strong partnership between students, staff, and parents in making Howard High School the best it can be. Go Lions!!!

PS- Look for a more comprehensive set of goals for the school in upcoming posts this year!


  1. Welcome! Thanks for sharing! During the new student orientation you mentioned a vision of having a Howard High School Club fair after school. I would love to see this happen. Please let me know if I can help.


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