Principal Joe Jira completes another lap around the sun


Jake Epstein

Jira celebrates his birthday with the administrative staff. Jira made note of his favorite movie series as Star Trek and Star Wars, and he also made sure to credit the Eagles, Eric Clapton, and Todd Rundgren as his favorite musical artists.

Jake Epstein, Content Editor

Principal Joe Jira arrived to find his office filled to the brink with multicolored balloons. Jira would not disclose what age he’d just turned, but a 67-sticker appeared on his doorframe.

For Jira, a career in education was not always the aim. He set out for the University of Baltimore with a career as a lawyer in mind. It was there that he discovered his passion for English, which ultimately lead to him becoming an English teacher.

“I took a lot of English courses and there were a couple really cool English teachers who turned me onto literature and thinking,” Jira said.

Jira’s been an educator for over 40 years, serving 34 in BCPS. He taught at Hereford for three years, served as an assistant principal for eight years, and is in his seventh year as principal. His favorite parts of the job are his ability to hire teachers and implement programs, along with connecting with students. Jira is proud of what the school has done with the agricultural and aviation programs and looks forward to possibly building a barn.

The principal is the dictionary definition of a morning person, rising daily at 3:30 a.m.

“I like to be the first person out and be the only person who’s seemingly alive in my world,” Jira said.

For those looking for food recommendations, Jira’s favorite local spot is Ryleigh’s Oyster in Timonium. Ever the fan of Italian food, especially spaghetti, he also loves to venture down to the many restaurants of Baltimore’s Little Italy.

When asked about his hero, Jira was quick to answer with his son, Matt.

“He had a tough time struggling through high school, but now lives down in Elon, North Carolina,” Jira said. “He runs a whole country club, runs in triathlons, has trained forever, and runs a whole sports program down there. He really made a name for himself once he fell in love with sports medicine.”

As for his plans for the future of Hereford, Jira looks forward to seeing the school return to normal.

“I’m excited that we’ve been given permission to have proms now and we can do all the traditional senior activities,” Jira said. “It looks like we’ll be able to have a normal graduation.”