MHS Welcomes New Associate Principal

Georgia Briskey, Staff Writer

For the 2011-2012 school year, Associate Principal Michael McAlister joins the Miramonte family.

Formerly a part time administrator at Acalanes High School and an eighth grade history teacher at Stanley Middle School, McAllister is no stranger to the world of academics.

“I believe in affecting change. There must be better ways to meet students’ needs in this school district because these are the students that will be taking over the world eventually,” said McAlister.

McAlister wasn’t always involved in education. Just out of University of California Berkeley, McAlister worked as a stand-up comic in New York and toured all down the east coast. It wasn’t until one particular phone call that he discovered what his true calling was.

“I kept in touch with my 8th grade history teacher. He said he was dying of cancer and that he wanted me to take his place as a teacher,” said McAlister. “And through the tears I did it for the next 17 years.”

In 2001, McAllister took a break from teaching and travelled to Thailand to become a Buddhist monk for six months. His extended vow of silence inspired him to write a book titled, “Awake in This Life”.

The book talks about life’s deeper questions, and after five years of editing, it was published in 2008.
McAlister said, “I had so many thoughts, I needed to get it all out. I just had to write it.”

McAlister leads a meditation class on weekends called “Infinite Smile,” and if he wasn’t working as an administrator he would pursue the meditation practice more, in addition to spending more time on mountain tops, writing full time, and teaching scuba diving in the Gulf of Thailand. Despite almost losing his arm by a territorial fish, McAlister still pursues the hobby of scuba diving.

McAlister thinks we are very blessed, lucky, and talented group of students at Miramonte High School. But what does an associate principal do?

“The stereotype of my job is to just bust people, but I’m really here to support the students, staff, and the vision of the school,” said Mc Allister.

He makes sure everything is running smoothly. From technical issues to meeting with students, there is never a dull moment for McAlister, even outside of school campus.

Once on a trek in the Himalayas, McAlister saw his life flash before his eyes. While walking with a guide on unstable ground, McAlister saw an avalanche suddenly come crashing towards him, and he knew it was the end for him. But in a split second the guide ran, picked McAlister up and onto his own shoulders, and rushed him to safety.

Times like that are why “enjoy each quivering moment.” is McAllister’s favorite quote. Living life to the fullest is something McAllister strongly believes in, and if he were to die tomorrow, he would like to be known as “a good partner and citizen.”

Mr. McAllister takes a break from being awesome to pose next to his favorite quote by poet Rumi.