Rev. Richard J. McGrath, OSA, president of Providence Catholic High School, recently announced that Dr. John Harper has been selected as the next principal of the school beginning July 1. Don Sebestyen, who has served as principal for the past fourteen years, is retiring at the end of the current school year.
“After an extensive search we have chosen the best candidate for the job,” said Father McGrath. “He is one of our own, a PCHS alumnus and current parent with extensive educational experience to lead our school community.”
Dr. Harper has 33 years of experience in the Plainfield Community Consolidated School District #202 and currently serves as Superintendent of Schools. He has also served as Assistant Superintendent of Schools, principal of a middle school and principal of an elementary school. Furthermore, he was a classroom teacher and coach. He is an accomplished administrator with a strong work ethic and a firm commitment to the academic, social and emotional growth and achievement of students. He brings vast knowledge to the position with the experience of overseeing 30,000 students, 3,000 staff members and annual budgets averaging $300 million.
“For the past 33 years I’ve been blessed to both live and work in District 202, and I’ll remain eternally grateful for the life lessons I’ve learned from my colleagues, our families and most especially, our students,” Dr. Harper said. “Ironically, I’ve come to understand the personal values and beliefs which have strengthened and sustained me both personally and professionally for the past three decades, which were first taught to me and modeled while I was a student at Providence Catholic. Consequently, being named Principal of Providence Catholic is a tremendous honor, bringing with it a strong sense of “coming home”. I embrace the opportunity to return to a school setting and the chance to work more closely with staff, as well as the students and their families. For me, my return to Providence Catholic signals the ‘circle of life.’ ”
Dr. Harper holds both a Doctor of Education and a Master of Science in Educational Leadership from Illinois State University. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of St. Francis and graduated from Providence High School in 1977. John, his wife, Terri, and their children reside in Plainfield.