Dr. Behr – Schreibers new principal

After Dr. Pernick resigned from the position of principal at Schreiber High School on Feb. 11, an interim principal, Mr. John Lewis, was reinstated briefly until a new principal was found.  Lewis, with the help of the school  and district administrators, interviewed 11 applicants out of the 60 applicants who responded to the job posting, and by the end of Apr., a new principal had been selected.  The Schreiber Times had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Kathryn Behr and discuss her first thoughts of Schreiber and plans for the future. 

“I think it is critical that a principal is collaborative and willing to talk with their students.  I think the first thing any principal has to do is come in, be mindful of the things that they value, be mindful of the things that we value, and then be an educational leader and visionary,” said Assistant Principal Mr. David Miller.

Fostering a positive relationship with the students and faculty is incredibly important to Dr. Behr, and she has made an effort to greet as many students as possible in the morning by the front entrance. 

“My current plans right now are getting to know the school community, and really immersing myself in the culture,” said Behr. 

One of the biggest changes that Dr. Behr has instituted in Schreiber is the coverage policy.  Instead of canceling classes, teachers who volunteered are assigned by administration to  cover absent colleagues. 

“It seems to be going really well… I have heard mixed feedback from students; some students love having class and some students miss having the free time, but so far it’s great that we have students productively engaged in their instructional materials even when the teachers aren’t present,” said Behr about the implementation of the coverage policy. 

In both AP and Regents level classes, there are important exams that fall at the end of the school year, and managing the pace of the class is a duty teachers have to ensure.  When teachers are unable to teach, assigning substitutes to canceled classes can ensure that the class stays on schedule. 

“By having class still meet and being able to do some work that you might have had the following day or the following week, you can still generally stay on track so you keep the same topics at around the same time as originally planned,” said Behr. 

Dr. Behr’s top priority at the present time is ensuring that she is available to students and faculty, part of which comes from having an understanding of the student life and unique aspects of Schreiber. 

“Having four assistant principals is really special, because it is almost like a case manager for each grade level, so if you have a question you know exactly who to go to who can either respond to your question or point you in the right direction,” said Behr when discussing how Schreiber differs from her previous places of work. 

Another new aspect was the open campus. 

“I have never experienced an open campus, so this is so different to see so many students outside, whether you are talking about 9th and 10th who are just sit-ting in the front, or 11th and 12th who are walking off of campus, I can tell you that it is a very different experience for me,” said Behr.

Though Schreiber is very new to Dr. Behr, it is clear that she is committed to nurturing a positive learning environment for all students. 

“I really want to be present.  I have been to almost every single sporting game that is here… I have missed two games, and I feel so guilty about that already!  Showing up and being present, not that it’s about me, but it’s about demonstrating that if it’s important to a student and it’s important to their families, it’s important to me.” 

Dr. Behr has also attended many of the student concerts, athletics dinner and senior awards events in the spring of 2022.  Before first period, Behr has also stopped by many club meetings to get an idea of the diversity of initiatives and interests which students at Schreiber partake in. 

“I am one of few people in the world who would love to have students and teachers here all summer.  I would love to have this building filled with the energy and enthusiasm for learning that I see already starting at the beginning of the year.  Seeing the reaction from students and staff on the first day of school excited to be back and learning was the highlight of my entire year.  I would say my favorite part thus far is getting to know the students and the teachers and getting to know why they love Port Washington and why they love this high school,” said Behr.