Inside the Life of John Pehrson

Shawyan Rooein, Centerspread Editor

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To many incoming students, Principal John Pehrson at first was the tall guy. He was the guy who comes over to your lunch table to check if you are going to pick up your trash. But to many, he is more than that.

Pehrson became a mentor to many students and teachers who they could easily talk to. He helped create Portola High from the bottom up. Since last year, many students have gotten to know Pehrson through pep rallies or during breaks throughout the day.

In total, he has served over 30 years as an educator in Orange County. He comes from a diverse teaching background: coach, teacher, activities director, assistant principal and, now, principal.

“My true inspiration of why I do what I do is to be with kids every day,” Pehrson said. “I have loved every single thing I have done as an educator.”

Throughout his years as an educator, Pehrson has learned many skills along the way and has enjoyed every step of that process. But it was the students and his passion that drove him to continue.

“When I started out as a teacher, I never had any ambition to become an administrator or activities director… or principal,” Pehrson said.

Pehrson can often be found during breaks or popping into classroom socializing with students and teachers. He prefers a more relaxed and less formal relationship with students in order to grow as a student body.

“What I love about what I do is the day-to-day interactions that I have with students,” Pehrson said.

Pehrson has raised up Portola immensely and has positively impacted students’ school experiences. He has also become a mentor for teachers and staff across campus.

Though he doesn’t directly work with students on campus in regards to teaching, he explained, “I act as a mentor or adviser to all the other teachers or staff on campus… while I don’t micromanage them, I do offer opinions when asked and offer my experience.”

In addition to his passion for his job and working with kids, Pehrson enjoys anything hands on. He has a passion for building and creating and is always looking for improvements. Likewise, Pehrson is very competitive and in fact played volleyball through his years in college, according to Assistant Principal Amy Paulsen.

“He’s extremely talented when it comes to woodworking or anything around the house, [which is] how he paid for himself to go through college,” Paulsen said.

Pehrson enjoys all sorts of projects around the house, which includes landscaping and carpentry. Not only is he an amazing principal who has overseen the entire growth of Portola but is also a kind, charismatic and creative person who enjoys going to his job every day and inspiring students.