After a two-and-one-half month national search, it will be my great pleasure to recommend the appointment of Robert Rhodes as the next Principal of Horace Greeley High School (effective 7/1/12) at the February 28th Board of Education meeting. Mr. Rhodes is the founding and current principal of Millennium High School in lower Manhattan’s financial district. Established in 2002 in an effort to revitalize the area following the September 11th attacks, MHS is an inclusive college preparatory high school of approximately 625 students with a rigorous liberal arts academic program and an emphasis on writing, critical thinking, analytical skills, exhibitions, presentations, and service to community. Over the past nine years, Robert and his staff have created a high school that is now one of the top ranked and most sought after high schools in NYC. For the 2011-12 school year, 5,300 eighth-graders applied for only 150 openings, and several schools based on his model now are opening throughout the City. As founding principal, Robert recruited all staff and students, provided curriculum and instructional leadership, worked closely with community members, local business officials, and politicians, and was instrumental in securing millions of dollars in grant funding. He established a strong advisory board composed of students, parents, and community members to guide the growth of the school. He has established a four-year student-teacher advisory program, resulting in 98% graduation and college placement rates. Robert has a collaborative leadership style, a deep knowledge of instructional and systems approaches, a strong understanding of high school academics, related arts, and extra-curricular programs, and, most critically, a sense of humor. He has experience reaching out to community and parents, knows high school teachers and students well, and is a listener. Eric Byrne, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, Alyson Kiesel, School Board President, a Greeley teacher, and I visited Millennium on Tuesday and met with small groups of parents, teachers, and students, respectively. We walked through classrooms to see the instructional program and the learning environment Robert has fostered. Both our site visit and a walk-through at Greeley with Robert confirmed our perception of him as a strong and visionary leader. He is thoughtful, decisive, and forward thinking. He clearly connects with students and takes every opportunity to pull up a chair and begin a conversation with them. As a result of all this, I’m confident he will be an outstanding next leader for Greeley.
Robert began his career in education in 1990 as a math teacher at a small alternative high school in Jamaica, Queens. In 1993, he joined School of the Future’s humanities department and five years later transitioned to the administrative team serving as assistant principal.
Originally from Shaker Heights, Ohio, Robert graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 1990 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Science and in 1997 received a Master of Science Degree in Educational Administration from Fordham University. In 2003 he received Clark University’s Secondary Educator of the Year Award and in 2008 was awarded a Cahn Fellowship designed by Teachers College to recognize outstanding principals. He lives in Brooklyn and has two children.
Should the Board of Education approve my recommendation, there will be opportunities in the near future for you to meet Robert Rhodes and to welcome him to the Chappaqua community. Best, Lyn McKay Superintendent of Schools