In Episode 8 of ‘The S Word,’ Mike Garrison talks Mac past, present and future

Veteran principal reveals how the campus has changed, what he’ll miss most and what he plans to do next


Dave Winter

Producer Stella Shenkman and guest hosts Gregory James and Bella Russo sit down with outgoing principal Mike Garrison in the lastest episode of The S Word, the Shield’s exclusive podcast series.

When principal Mike Garrison informed the McCallum community that he was retiring at the ends of this summer, the news was met with sadness, surprise and an outpouring of admiration for McCallum’s main man for the last 16 years. Now that the dust from the seismic announcement has settled, guest hosts Gregory James and Bella Russo sit down with the longtime leader on 5600 Sunshine Drive to discuss his past and McCallum’s past, plus what he’ll miss and what future he sees for himself and for the school moving forward. We are pleased to share this very special edition of the S Word, our exclusive interview with Mike Garrison.

I think it is invaluable to establish relationships in education. Really, to me, that’s what education is all about.

— principal Mike Garrison

When Garrison heard of an opening for a new principal at McCallum 16 years ago, he decided to take it because he felt he would be a good fit for all the programs and offerings McCallum offered. It turned out that Garrison was more than a good fit for the school. His role in shaping the culture of McCallum and its residence was a palpable one, evident in every opening night he attended or post-game conversation he held with students during a passing period. For Garrison, making the school into one community was always the plan, and forging relationships between students and staff was the way to get there.

“I think it is invaluable to establish relationships in education. Really, to me, that’s what education is all about,” Garrison said. “A teacher is not going to be successful if they don’t establish relationships with their students, and by the same token, administrators, nurses and our SRO’s, will not be successful and influence students as much as they could if they do not establish relationships with those students. That is the part that makes this the most fun, having those relationships with students.”

Now, Garrison hopes to spend more time with his family; not the one he’s forged here, but the one he has at home.

I’ll always be a McCallum Knight.

— principal Mike Garrison

“I think the biggest thing about retirement will be getting some time back where I can visit with my wife more, with my daughter, who goes to St. Edwards, with my daughter who’s up in New York who graduated from UT a couple of years back, to spend some time with her.”

Although he won’t be the one welcoming students back to school come fall, there is no denying that Garrison’s legacy will continue on during his retirement. He assures us that he’ll always be invested in all of McCallum’s exploits, and weather he’s back in the crowd of a football game or just reading the morning news, he’ll always be cheering for the Knights.

“I’ll be able to keep in touch in seeing what’s going on in the media, and of course I’ll come and see some of the many numerous events, whether it’s athletic, whether it’s concerts, whether it’s plays, musicals, dance performances. I’ll still enjoy coming back and watching those programs and watching those students,” Garrison said. “I’ll always be a McCallum Knight, for sure.”