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The Student-Run Newspaper of Townsend Harris High School at Queens College

The Classic

The Student-Run Newspaper of Townsend Harris High School at Queens College

The Classic

From AP to AP: Assistant Principal Ellen Fee becomes acting principal as Brian Condon goes on medical leave

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Assistant Principal of Organization Ellen Fee becomes Acting Principal.
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Last month, families received an email from Superintendent Hoa Tu saying that Principal Brian Condon would be taking a temporary leave from Townsend Harris to recover from health-related issues and that Assistant Principal of Organization Ellen Fee would become Acting Principal until Mr. Condon returns.

“I am grateful to Ms. Ellen Fee for stepping in to serve as acting principal during my prolonged absence,” Mr. Condon told The Classic. “My confidence in Ms. Fee and her experience has made my recovery more tolerable despite many ups and downs.” 

In a statement to The Classic, Ms. Fee said “It has been my pleasure to serve at Townsend Harris for over 20 years in a leadership capacity. I know the needs of the school and the needs of the students well, so I believe that I am the best person to take the helm of this ship until Mr. Condon returns.”

Praising Ms. Fee as his “most trusted partner” at the school and as someone he regularly consults while away, Mr. Condon said, “I have leaned on her wisdom, experience, and character [in the past] and continue to do so now. …The school is in good hands under her leadership and will continue to be until my return, God -willing.”

Assistant Principal Jessica Graf said that she and the rest of the administrative team are grateful for Ms. Fee’s leadership during this “difficult time.”

She said that everyone has worked over the past two months to ensure that the school can continue to operate smoothly and close out the school year well in Mr. Condon’s absence. 

“It is a wonderful reality about Townsend Harris that everyone is always striving to do their best and keep things moving along,” she said, noting that “we miss Mr. Condon and wish him a speedy recovery.”Other members of the school community shared similar perspectives on Mr. Condon’s leave of absence, noting both their continued well wishes for his health and their confidence that the school was in capable hands during his absence.

“Any time a building leader can’t come in, it takes some time to get used to,” said Senior Advisor and Social Studies teacher Blayne Gelbman. “However, I am confident that the other assistant principals will step up and manage the building effectively. Ms. Fee, as acting principal, will ensure that everything continues to run smoothly through the end of the school year and summer school.”

United Federation of Teachers Representative and English teacher Kevin McDonaugh said that the trust Mr. Condon placed in teachers prior to his leave also helped ensure a smooth transition.

“Mr. Condon started delegating a lot of responsibility and leadership to teacher leaders in the school,” he said, noting that multiple departments have teacher point people who work with Ms. Fee regularly to help keep the staff informed and on track to make sure the school year ends effectively. “Fortunately, there were good systems put in place that can continue to carry on in Mr. Condon’s absence. …Since there’s a lot of leadership among the teachers already, facilitated by Mr. Condon and integrated by Ms. Fee, it made the transition easy and smooth. Everyone seems to be handling it well.”

In terms of student activities and Student Union proceedings, SU President Hellen Oliveira said, “Mr. Condon’s ideas and advice were always a highlight of our discussions [during SU meetings], but Ms. Fee, ever the leader she is, has done a great job in ensuring that our meetings and communication run as seamlessly as they did before Mr. Condon’s departure.”

Mr. Condon has been on leave since students returned from spring break in early May. He has been principal of THHS since spring 2017.

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About the Contributors
Yasmeen Ismail
Yasmeen Ismail, Managing Editor
Yasmeen is a sophomore at Townsend Harris High School. She spends her days swimming, shopping, and catching up on schoolwork. When she's not in the pool or hitting the books, she loves snowboarding, watching movies, exploring new places, and trying different restaurants.
Max Rosenthal
Max Rosenthal, News Editor
Max is a sophomore at Townsend Harris High School. In his free time, he loves to listen to music, collect vinyl records, and hang out with his friends. He also loves coffee and going to study & write articles at small cafes.
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