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Draper Journal

St. John the Baptist Middle School Welcomes New Principal, Director of Facilities

Sep 29, 2016 02:30PM ● By Julie Slama

After 13 years as principal and assistant principal at St. John the Baptist Middle School, Jim Markosian took the charge as director of facilities for St. John the Baptist elementary and middle schools as well as Juan Diego Catholic High School. (Nevah Stevenson/St. John the Baptist schools)

By Julie Slama | julie

This fall, St. John the Baptist students will still see their familiar former principal, only he will be in a different role as the Skaggs Catholic Center, and the community welcomes a new principal to the middle school.

Former principal Jim Markosian has been named director of facilities for the Skaggs Catholic Center, and former St. Francis Xavier Catholic School principal Patrick Reader became the new St. John the Baptist Middle School principal on July 1.

The transition began when Juan Diego Catholic High School Director of Advancement Molly Dumas retired June 30, which allowed for the former director of facilities Rick Bartman to fill her vacancy. Seeing the director of facilities position open, Markosian was prepared for the move.

“After 23 years in administration and 36 in education, it’s healthy to do something different,” Markosian said, who served St. John’s for seven years as principal and assistant principal for six years before that. “Each of the Skaggs’ principals take on overseeing a part of the campus and as middle school principal, I oversaw facilities, so I wasn’t completely new to the change.”

Still, Markosian said it was a different kind of challenge.

“It’s been this new, crazy kind of busy. I started as we were finishing the new wing on the elementary school and creating the Mother Teresa prayer garden. We’ve had special events where I had to make sure everything that was needed was there from tables and chairs to traffic flow. I need to make sure that the 2,000 kids on the property, the buildings and classrooms, and all 57 acres that include our sports fields and stadiums, are ready as well as see to invoices, spreadsheets and paperwork. It’s just a new kind of demands,” he said.

Another adjustment was to cut back the custodial crew from 11 employees to four.

“We needed to adjust for insurance costs and such, but we realized we can’t do what we did with 11 with just four employees and it’s different from summertime when kids aren’t around to fall when all the students return. So we’re making adjustments,” he said.

Still, he looked forward to school starting when he could see his former students and say hi and ask how classes are going. Markosian, along with Assistant Principal Jean Synowicki and Administrative Assistant Felicia Frakes, also helped with the transition as Reader took the helm of the middle school.

Reader was named principal in late May and came in on Fridays in June so he could learn some of the history and traditions of the school.

“I’ve been at St. Francis the past seven years and it’s a great school with a phenomenal community, but I saw a new opportunity in this middle school and new challenges for me,” he said.

He said that students will quickly learn his personality as being one that is outgoing, often laughing and joking with students.  

“I can add some fun and different experiences for middle school — academic rigor with the fun,” he said, adding that the students will excel in academics, religion, arts, athletics and other activities.

Students may be able to relate to their new principal athletically, as he used to compete in triathlons, and also musically, as now he devotes some free time to playing rock ‘n roll on the drums.

“I could lose myself for periods of time. I’m just a kid of the 1970s,” he said.

Reader, who got his bachelor’s degree in business from Oregon State University, worked in the field for 12 years before earning his master’s degree in Catholic education leadership. He taught and was an administrator at the University of Portland for five years before moving to Utah. 

Reader said his near future goals include meeting his students and their families and learning the culture of the Skaggs Center as he partners with the other schools to make it a smooth kindergarten through high school senior experience.

“It’s a unique setting in our area and a great school to be a part of,” Reader said.