Interview with new Schreiber Principal: Dr. Behr

Sam Capuano, Contributing Writer

On April 27, 2022, Dr. Kathryn Behr was announced as Schreiber’s new principal, after months of searching and interviewing candidates, and she is set to assume her position as soon as the 2021-22 school year finishes.  After receiving a doctorate in education from St. John’s, she began working in the Jericho School District.  Over the course of her five year career in the district, she worked as the Curriculum Associate for Fine and Performing Arts, Assistant Principal and Supervisor of Fine and Performing Arts.  I spoke with her about her experiences in the Jericho school district as well as her plans for the future of Schreiber.  

I began by asking her what she learned from her time in the Jericho school district that would help her transition into her role at Schreiber.  

“I think the biggest thing I’ve learned, especially in the last couple of years, is the importance of relationships and making connections with students and colleagues, because it benefits the whole school,” said Dr. Behr. 

Connections and relationships with students and staff is an important part of her mentality as principal.  When I asked about her visibility to students, she again stressed the importance of students being able to get to know her.

 “I’ve always been an open door person where people, whether it’s a staff member or a student, are welcome to come in and talk to me about their day, talk to me about something that’s going on, and ask for help if they need it.  I like to go to evening events if it’s important to students, if it’s important to staff, it’s important to me as well because that’s how you’re involved in the school so I need to support that as well,” said Dr. Behr. 

Dr. Behr also values school spirit very highly between students and faculty members.  

“Some of the big things that involve school spirit definitely need a student voice to be heard.  We could come up with all these great plans that seem really good, or they were good when I was in high school, but don’t speak to students now.  So, including the student voice is huge when you talk about school spirit.  We incorporate student voices to see what gets students excited about participating, and we’ve seen a huge increase this year after a year and a half of most kids not being in school,”  said Behr.

Among the activities Dr. Behr described at Jericho were spirit weeks, that student council helped plan with themes such as ‘country’ or ‘country club, hallway decoration competitions where each grade received a different hallway to decorate.

Throughout the course of our conversation she repeatedly discussed the fact that she wanted to include students in the decision making process.  She went as far as to say that she did not have any real programs or initiatives that she was planning on starting at Schreiber because before she did anything she wanted to “make sure that any new initiative really fits in at Schreiber, and is something that people are looking for.”  

I also asked her about her musical background and how it would have an effect on her as a principal.  

“I think going back to that whole ensemble mentality is similar to how someone who has been a coach always has that coach mentality.  That’s really what I mean when I say I’ll always incorporate it into my thinking moving forward,” said Dr. Behr.  

We finished by discussing her plans for student and teacher meetings over the summer.  

“I don’t have anything on the books right now but I’m hoping that between now and the end of the school year I can start to set up some meetings.  Dr. Behr was hoping to set up meetings throughout July and August with students as well as Administrative Cabinet members to discuss the upcoming year.  Dr. Behr wanted to have an understanding of the school and it’s members before the year began, and despite not currently having any concrete plans hopes to be able to organize plenty of meetings so that she can have a better understanding of the school.

The success of Dr. Behr’s transition from an assistant principal in Jericho to the principal of Schreiber High School is yet to be seen, though it is clear from what she has said that she will focus her time as principal to strengthen the voice and impact of the student body, and will discuss many decisions with a group of faculty members and students before moving forward on anything that will affect the school.