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Elite Townsend Harris High School Gets New Principal Following Controversy

By Katie Honan | April 21, 2017 3:22pm | Updated on April 24, 2017 8:52am
 Brian Condon was selected as the new principal at Townsend Harris High School.
Brian Condon was selected as the new principal at Townsend Harris High School.
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DNAinfo/Katie Honan

​FLUSHING — A permanent principal has been selected at the city's elite Townsend Harris High School, delighting students, faculty and alumni who called for ousting its interim principal Rosemarie Jahoda. 

Brian Condon, currently helming the School for Tourism and Hospitality in The Bronx, begins at the elite Queens high school May 1, according to the Department of Education.

He was one of four candidates who interviewed for the position.

“I am excited to join the Townsend Harris community and meet with students, staff, and families," Condon said in a statement provided by the DOE.

"While it is bittersweet to be leaving Tourism and Hospitality, this is an exciting new chapter and I’m looking forward to the shared work ahead of us at Townsend Harris.”

Condon was described as an "experienced, talented educator" by Superintendent Elaine Lindsey, who also thanked Jahoda "for her leadership as interim acting principal."

Jahoda was met with controversy almost as soon as she began, and the school's award-wining student newspaper, The Classic, doggedly covered her tenure, which sparked sit-ins from students and included accusations of misconduct towards teachers. 

Among other retaliation, the paper's editors were accused of dissemanating "fake news" by the DOE, an allegation they fought back against.

The editors livestreamed Thursday's principal announcement — which elicited in cheers from students awaiting to hear the news.

Assemblywoman Nily Rozic, an alumna of the school, praised Condon's hiring, which she said will "move this school forward."

"Over the last couple of months, the community came together to have their voices heard and showed that through continued activism, positive change can happen," she said.

Borough President Melinda Katz called the new selection welcome news, but said it highlights the lack of transparency over the DOE's hiring of principals.

"The current process is shrouded under a veil of silence and secrecy and excludes any public oversight or mechanism for appeal," she said in a statement, calling for reform.