DOE Chooses New Principal For Arabic-Language School
By: NY1 News
NY1: DOE Chooses New Principal For Arabic-Language School
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The Department of Education announced Tuesday that is has named a new principal for the city's new Arabic-language school in Brooklyn.
Holly Reichert will take over the job from the interim principal of the Khalil Gibran School. Although Reichert has only spent a year teaching ESL in the city she has been working for the DOE since 1996, mentoring teachers. Prior to that, she was head of the English department at a school in Bahrain.
Reichert replaces Debbie Almontaser six months after she was ousted from the position. Almontaser — who is the school's founder — was forced to resign after refusing to condemn a t-shirt with the Arabic phrase "intifada" written on it.
"I don't know who this woman is," said Almontaser supporter Mona ElDahry. "However, I can say it's very unlikely that she is more qualified than the founding principal."
"I called Debbie earlier this morning to inform her that I'd be at this press conference," said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. "I know Debby and I'm sure that of course, she's disappointed. I'm sure. But I also know that she's a very special person who believes in the mission of the school."
Almontaser is in the middle of a legal battle to get her job back.
The Arab-language school has been embroiled in controversy from the start. Many didn't even want it to exist. KGIA's newly-appointed principal acknowledges that moving past the school's rocky start will be one of her biggest challenges.
"With all of the attention the school, the stress and the lack of stability, I think that bringing a sense of normalcy to the school, to create the stability where everyone feels comfortable moving forward," said Reichart of her aspirations for the school.
It seems she has some support from within.
"I think what we're looking for is an excellent educator, someone with excellent experience. I think we found it in Holly," said Lena AlHusseini, of the Arab American Family Support Center. "Holly is a role model for what we want the students to become. So we're very happy."
In a phone conversation, Almontaser's lawyer says client was disappointment by Tuesday's announcement. Now they're looking forward to having their day in court towards the end of the month.
- Lily Jamali