Briarcliff High School has appointed Debora French as principal this year. Ms. French, who has served as the school’s assistant principal for the past seven years, is replacing James Kaishian, who has been appointed the district’s new superintendent. Former dean of students Daniel Murphy has been appointed to the position of assistant principal.
Ms. French reported that the transition to principal has been smooth, and maintaining a connection with the students remains of utmost importance. “I still pursue relationships with the students,” she said. “I’m now serving a wider population and I’m comfortable with the community.”
After graduating from Rye Neck Public Schools, Ms. French went on to receive her B.A. from Manhattanville College and MA from Fordham University in 1980. She began her teaching career as a Spanish instructor in Norwalk, Conn., and was later employed as an adjunct professor at Manhattanville. In 1991, she began her tenure at Briarcliff High School teaching Spanish, and then Italian, and served as an adviser to the Spanish Club and student government. In 1999, she was honored as Briarcliff Teacher of the Year. According to Ms. French, “The 15 years in the classroom were a daily opportunity to cultivate a love of learning and a passion for world languages.”
After receiving her certificate in administration and supervision from the Future School Administrators Academy of Columbia University in 2005, Ms. French accepted the role of assistant principal at Briarcliff High School. In the eight years that followed, she instituted the Senior Internship Program, the Criteria Review Process, and partnerships with SUNY and Syracuse University, enabling students to earn college credit while attending high school. She is proud to be part of an administration that helped Briarcliff High School become a top New York State high school, ranked No. 1 in college preparatory.
Ms. French recently hosted a Parent Coffee to further develop her relationship with parents and discuss the impact of the Common Core curriculum. “Our goal, as a faculty, is to properly prepare our students for higher learning and beyond so that they will be able to provide for themselves and become upstanding citizens,” she said.
Ms. French is the mother of two sons, Taylor and Travis, and lives in Yorktown Heights with her husband Albert. She enjoys gardening and spending time with her 1-year-old granddaughter, Huntley Katherine.