April 27, 2020
Dear New Rochelle,
As you continue to navigate these difficult times, I feel compelled to communicate admiration for your resilience and my acknowledgement (sic) of how challenging the current situation has been for central administration, building leaders and teachers.
New Rochelle is a special place. We are all one in New Rochelle and we are all committed to excellence in education. Although we might not always agree on the best path forward, we are all invested in the success of our diverse and remarkable student body. I commend Mr. Starvaggi for leading New Rochelle High school during these unprecedented times and recognize that for many, seeing a New Rochelle veteran retire, especially at the end of such a difficult year, is stressful.
I want to assure you that the wonderful things that are already happening at NRHS will continue. It is my goal to address areas where we all know challenges still exist. These areas of challenge did not develop over one or two years, but have been compounded over many. We will have to work together as a community to seek thoughtful and transformative change that embraces our diversity and drives our success. This will require supporting everyone, including the teachers, department chairs, school counselors, clinicians, nurses, custodial staff and more. We will work to harness their collective knowledge and expertise to accelerate the drive forward. We will also need to ensure authentic community partnerships and engagement through open dialogue with students and parents. Often students are their own best advocates.
I know that these past few weeks have heightened the stress in the minds and hearts of many. I know that the prospect of a new Principal is both exhilarating and stressful because we all love New Rochelle High School. I am a lifelong New Rochellean too. Like you, I am committed to the support and success of all students. Like you, I reject hate and bigotry in all forms and like you, I know that many segments of the community have been victims of hate. Regrettably, the “Stop Hate: Night of Hope” symposium scheduled by Dr. Feijóo was canceled due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 crisis. These types of dialogues are important, and we should never shy away from them. I stand with you, and together we will identify, and silence hateful acts committed against any and all members of our community. To learn, students need a free and safe space to grow and share ideas without the fear of hateful imposition.
I hope that the entire NRHS staff and all students and parents know that I am watching and rooting for you! I know you have been working very hard and that you have a spirit and courage far beyond what anyone expected of you in September. When we resume schools and I transition into the role of Principal of NRHS, we will work to heal together as we commit to driving the school and all of the students to the next level. We can achieve this because of the exceptional teachers in New Rochelle and the passion demonstrated by your department chairs during the budget presentation on January 27.
Please stay safe, continue to support each other and remember that the stress is felt by everyone. This includes teachers, who are the solid backbone of any plan. As my transition approaches, I will communicate directly with all who work at NRHS, but for now please know that I am so very impressed with the work you have done during these difficult times. Students, please know that this experience is a part of your education. There are lessons to be learned from this global pandemic which I hope to unpack with you when we can once again assemble and enter into rich and thoughtful discussions about the world around us and how it impacts our frame of thinking and mindset. Remember, in New Rochelle we know that you, the students, are at the heart of all we do.
We believe in you and I cannot wait to meet all of you.
Mr. Adofo Muhammad will become Principal of New Rochelle High School on July 1, 2020.