GREENWICH VILLAGE — The beloved principal of P.S. 41 in Greenwich Village has been tapped by the Department of Education to mentor three new principals in Manhattan's School District 2.
The district is the borough's largest, spanning from the southern tip of Battery Park City up to 96th Street on the Upper East Side and 59th Street on the west side (except for a portion of the Lower East Side which comprises District 1).
P.S. 41 Principal Kelly Shannon has seen her school through some tough times, from a car crash a few years ago that nearly hurt a toddler to a shelter-in-place incident just a few months ago after an off-duty police officer drew a gun during an incident on nearby Greenwich Avenue.
"It just goes to show, how she’s being recognized for what she does. Kelly has the ability to focus on our kids and make our kids feel seen and heard and at the same time she recognizes the realities of running a school — which are two very different realities," said P.S. 41 parent Heather Campbell. "I feel like my kids are being taken care of and excited and challenged and I know, at the same time, with the realities of the bureaucracy of the school, she’s working on those things as well."
Shannon's mentorship comes out of a new role the city's Department of Education created called "master principal," in which experienced principals around the city coach new principals in their district for a year "so they have support and training," Shannon explained.
"You want to make sure that there's a lot of support for the administrators," she added.
The three principals she's mentoring are at P.S. 198 on Third Avenue off of 96th Street on the Upper East Side, P.S. 212 in Midtown West, and P.S. 2 on Henry Street on the Lower East Side.
A Department of Education spokesman said Shannon was recognized for strong practices and success in driving student achievement, and her support to the new principals includes site visits to their schools, hosting them and their staffs at P.S. 41, and frequent informal communication with the new principals and their staffs around best practices.
The position "encourages the use of existing principals and their talents" with the goal of ensuring that "brand-new principals stay in the system and grow and thrive," she added.
"I'm very, very excited," Shannon said. "I absolutely love the role, I love the work."
There was some concern among P.S. 41 parents that the beloved principal would be leaving their school next year, or not be able to spend enough time on campus this year given her new responsibilities.
But Shannon said that she hopes to be the principal at P.S. 41 "for as long as they have me," and that she's at the school the same amount of time as she's always been.
"Obviously, I'm visiting those other schools on occasion, but that's no different than other years when I've taken part of trainings [away from the school]," she said.