Justin King of Harrisonburg has been named high school principal at Eastern Mennonite School. In the role, he will give leadership to grades 9 to 12.
“He’s young and we like that,” said head of school Paul Leaman about the 2012 graduate of Eastern Mennonite University who has taught world history, government and economics most recently at East Rockingham High School in Elkton, Virginia. “We are thrilled with his energy and enthusiasm. Justin is well loved by students and colleagues in his past work places, is committed to implementing restorative justice in our school culture, and cares about offering excellent academics from a faith perspective.”
King earned a bachelor of arts degree from EMU with majors in history and social science and secondary education licensure, and minors in political science and coaching. In addition to East Rockingham, he has also taught at Broadway High School and Turner Ashby High School.
A native of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, King was a baseball standout at Warwick High School before joining EMU’s baseball program. A baseball coach at East Rockingham for the past five years and Turner Ashby for one year prior, King said that he has “learned that life and baseball are similar in that they don’t build character, but they reveal it.”
King is excited to work in a setting where he can be “open and honest with students and faculty about my faith experiences,” he said. He has enjoyed mentoring students outside of school settings in the past as they wrestle with big ideas and questions, providing mutual support and encouragement beyond the textbook or baseball field.
Teaching is a job that can be be emotionally and physically draining, King said. “I will work to keep and attract the best educators in the area by creating a culture where teachers feel validated, supported, and enjoy coming to work.”
King is slated to begin working toward a master’s degree in secondary school administration at James Madison University beginning this fall “to learn how to best support students and faculty in creating a school culture that is life-giving and positive for all,” he said.
King is married to Heidi B. King, a choir and musical theater teacher at Stonewall Jackson High School. Together they give leadership to an active youth group at Zion Mennonite Church, where they are members and Justin serves on the congregational leadership team. The Kings have led numerous service-learning trips with their youth group to denominational gatherings and various work sites.
In addition to baseball, King enjoys travel and service experiences. He was born in Jamaica, where his parents served with Mennonite Central Committee, and spent a semester during college in Lesotho and South Africa. The time in Lesotho and South Africa “took me completely out of my comfort zone,” he said, and “helped me gain appreciation for other people and cultures.”
Eastern Mennonite School was established in 1917. It offers excellent academics from a foundation of faith and values in a caring community with a global perspective. Located at 801 Parkwood Drive in Harrisonburg, Virginia, the school serves nearly 400 students K-12.