Siwanoy Principal Farid Johnson Named NYS Elementary Principal of the Year!

Siwanoy Principal Farid Johnson Named NYS Elementary Principal of the Year!
Alexander Wolff

Shortly before Spring Recess, we were elated to learn that Siwanoy School Principal Farid Johnson was honored as Elementary School Principal of the Year by the School Administrators Association of New York State (SAANYS)!

The Principal of the Year Award is given to a SAANYS member who is committed to excellence, supports programs designed to meet the academic and social needs of all students, and has firm ties to parents and the community.

As noted in the announcement of the award, one of Mr. Johnson's most significant accomplishments as principal has been the Siwanoy CultureFEST. FEST is for Food, Entertainment, Stories, and Traditions. 

Mr. Johnson said that "visibility" and "building relationships to increase flexible thinking are some of the best practices for being an elementary school principal. "A principal should be seen throughout the school on a daily basis,” he said. “Most of the time should be spent in classrooms. Spending time in classrooms with students helps you to build strong and positive relationships with the students and teachers alike."

He added that flexible thinking is critical for a school principal, who should "be able to live in the gray area. My job is to prepare students for the real world, and the real world is not black and white. There are nuances and many experiences that will need to be handled in a flexible manner. I believe building strong and positive relationships will help navigate the gray area when leading a school."

“On behalf of the Pelham Public Schools, we are so proud of Mr. Johnson’s honor,” said Dr. Cheryl H. Champ, Superintendent of Schools. “Since taking the reins at Siwanoy just a few years ago, Mr. Johnson has proven himself to be an energetic building leader who has fostered meaningful connections with students, staff and families. I’ve always said that the administrators in Pelham are some of the finest educators I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with and this honor is another shining example of their commitment to excellence.”

Mr. Johnson has been active in education in the state of New York since 2004. He received his bachelor of science and master of science from Manhattanville College, received a master of science from Bank Street College, and is currently pursuing a doctorate of education at St. John Fisher.

Mr. Johnson and fellow 2024 award winners will be recognized at SAANYS' annual awards celebration, taking place on May 3 at the Saratoga Hilton.

Madeleine Mercer, Siwanoy PTA president-elect and parent, says, "Principal Johnson is an extremely creative, collaborative, and innovative principal. He is always willing to work with teachers, students, and parents to bring in exciting opportunities for students, and engage the entire school community."

Alice Bowman, Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning of Pelham Public Schools, speaks highly of Farid Johnson, "I have had the privilege of working with Farid for the past two years, and I can attest to his unwavering commitment to student wellbeing. He exemplifies a student-centered approach, demonstrating a genuine affinity for people and fostering an environment where students feel secure. Farid effectively engages with students and parents alike, building and nurturing strong relationships between home and school. His innovative mindset has led to the development of pertinent discussion topics for parents, offering insights into how they can support their children at home. Notably, Farid is known for his candidness and honesty, qualities highly regarded in our team. He prioritizes the well-being of students, holding staff to high standards while providing unwavering support. Furthermore, Farid's dedication to self-improvement is evident in his continual pursuit of knowledge and his commitment to becoming a better leader."

Mr. Johnson will be honored by the Board of Education at its April 17, 2024 meeting. 

More about SAANYS

SAANYS represents nearly 22,000 school administrators, supervisors, and retiree leaders. As a professional association, SAANYS is committed to providing direction, service, and support to the membership in their efforts to improve the quality of education and leadership in New York State schools. SAANYS is affiliated with the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).

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