John Harrington named new principal of Saint Patrick HS, returning to where he once taught and coached
John Harrington has been named the next principal of Saint Patrick High School on the Northwest Side, returning to the school where he began his teaching and coaching career more than 20 years ago.
Harrington has served as the principal of Grove Junior High School in Elk Grove Village for the past eight years.
“I highly respect and believe in John,” said Saint Patrick president Dan Santucci ’02, who as a high school athlete was once coached by Harrington.
“He brings experience and expertise to the principal role and will expect academic excellence. More importantly, he is a man of character in the way he lives his life. He is aligned with the vision for the future of Saint Patrick and is going to be a key element in taking our school to the next level.”
In 1999, Harrington landed his first teaching job at Saint Patrick. He was a social studies teacher and football coach for two years before moving to California to continue his teaching career. Harrington returned to the Chicago area in 2003 and spent 10 years at Rolling Meadows High School as a teacher, coach and division head overseeing the Social Studies, World Languages and English Language Learners (ELL) departments before being appointed to his current principal role in 2014.
“Coming home to where it all started is surreal,” Harrington said. “My heart has always been at Saint Patrick because of the way the people there impacted me. My priority is turning students into young adults academically, social-emotionally, spiritually and through building character. This has always been my passion. It drives me every day and it is exciting to be given the opportunity to do it at St. Pat’s.”
While coaching Santucci during his time at Saint Patrick, Harrington says he discovered the positive influence educators could have on their students’ lives. “He really showed me what you can do as a teacher, coach and administrator, and the impact you can have on a student’s life,” Harrington said of Santucci.
“I am excited to work with Dan and the rest of the faculty, staff and administration. There is no better spot to be in at this stage in my career.”
Harrington becomes the school’s third lay principal, replacing Jon Baffico who announced his resignation effective June 30, after nine years at Saint Patrick.
A graduate of Saint Viator High School in Arlington Heights, Harrington earned his Bachelor of Arts degrees in Psychology and Secondary Education from Valparaiso University where he also played football. In 2006, Harrington received an MA in Curriculum & Instruction with a concentration in Educational Leadership from DePaul University. He and his wife, Annie, reside in La Grange with their three sons (Jack, 15; Charlie, 12; and Brady 10).