Meet Dr. John Sherrill, Marfa High School’s new principal
By NICK WINCHESTER
MARFA — “In education you get to leave a legacy, and I’m just excited about getting involved with the community, helping the kids as much as I can, and setting forth the opportunity for them to be successful tomorrow,” says Dr. John Sherrill, Marfa ISD’s new principal.
When the new school year begins this August, a new face will be seen in the corridors of the high school. Sherrill, who comes to Marfa from San Antonio, where he worked as Early College High School administrator for Southside ISD, spoke to the Big Bend Sentinel this week to share his excitement about being given the opportunity to be principal of Marfa High School in his 10th year working as an educator.
Sherrill says he grew up in a small North Texas town not unlike Marfa. “There’s something you get in a small town that you don’t get anywhere else. The work ethic, the values, and how everyone comes together — you don’t get that everywhere.” That is something Sherrill says he and his wife Amber wanted for their four young children, Coy, Avery, Hannah and Zane.
Sherrill’s eldest two, will start at the elementary school next month, something Sherrill says was another reason why he wanted a principal job. “It’s personal to me. I want it to be the best possible system for everybody’s kid, but now I’m vested in it. My kids are going through this one, too.”
Sherrill’s experience in San Antonio, as the Early College High School (ECHS) coordinator, is something he wishes to continue at Marfa. Working alongside School Counselor Sara White, Sherrill hopes to spearhead the program and get the first seniors through the program this year.
Another aim of Sherrill’s for the coming school year is to make sure every student reaches their aims, whether that is down an academic or technical route, which means preparing each student for college or trade school.
Sherrill hopes to introduce something called AVID, which he describes as a teaching initiative and strategies that help students become more organized and center their focus on what they want to do at the next level.
“My mentality is that we work hard every day to make school the best possible place so that kids and parents want to come back,” Sherrill says. “One of my philosophies is about building relationships. We want everything that we offer to be inviting to the students and to the parents because they’re our stakeholders.”
Prior to living in San Antonio, Sherrill lived outside of Austin for 13 years. He says he recognizes elements of the Marfa vibe in parts of Austin, but says “It’s beautiful out here. My wife will tell you, it’s a different kind of beautiful. Marfa is a breath of fresh air from San Antonio.”
Sherrill served in the U.S. Army, which he left in 2003 after spending time in Korea working as a Microwave Systems Operator. Following that he received his bachelor’s from Texas State, in 2008, in marketing. Following that, Sherrill got a job as a teacher and coach for Johnson City ISD, outside of Austin, where he coached football, basketball, and tennis. In 2011, Sherrill received his master’s in education leadership, and his doctorate in curriculum and instruction, in 2015, both from Texas Tech. While getting his degrees, Sherrill advanced to become the special programs and ESL coordinator at Johnson City ISD, before moving on to Southside ISD in San Antonio, where he was the secondary curriculum coordinator and, later, the assistant principal and ECHS administrator.
This will be Sherrill’s first principal job.
“Education is a humanitarian need,” Sherrill tells me at the end of our conversation. “Knowledge is power. If you want to change your circumstances, you can certainly do that. I’m truly honored and excited to be a part of the long tradition of Marfa ISD.”