How a Hasidic Jew Principal with Military Intelligence Training Turned Around a Failing Public School

Junior High School 22 in South Bronx, New York, has overwhelmingly black and Hispanic students - and it was failing badly: student attendance was so atrocious that in one class of 30, only 5 students had bothered to show up, gangs roam the hallway, and students attacked each other on a regular basis.

That was before Shimon Waronker, a Hasidic Jew with a beard and a velvet yarmulke and training in military tactical intelligence, stepped up to be its principal:

He also asked a lot from his teachers, and often they delivered. One longtime teacher, Roy Naraine, said, “I like people who are visionaries.”

Sometimes teachers balked, as when Mr. Waronker asked them to take to rooftops with walkie-talkies before Halloween in 2006. He wanted to avoid a repetition of the previous year’s troubles, when students had been pelted with potatoes and frozen eggs.

“You control the heights, you control the terrain,” he explained.

“I said, if you go on a roof, you’re not covered,” said Jacqueline Williams, the leader of the teachers’ union chapter, referring to teachers’ insurance coverage.

Mr. Waronker has also courted his teachers; one of his first acts as principal was to meet with each individually, inviting them to discuss their perspective and goals. He says he was inspired by a story of how the late Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitch spiritual leader, met with an Army general, then inquired after his driver.

“That’s leadership,” he said, “when you’re sensitive about the driver.”

Lynne Bourke-Johnson, now an assistant principal, said: “His first question was, ‘Well, how can I help you, Lynne?’ I’m like, ‘Excuse me?’ No principal had ever asked me that.”

A fascinating report by Elissa Gootman of The New York Times about how one man could change a public school that was failing so badly it was put on a list of the 12 most dangerous schools in New York: Link - via growabrain

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Nite white:

This shows you the physiology of these hatful losers. Here is a fact that the principal helped the school, but he “feels this school’s recent progress is more attributable to the previous principal leaving, who must’ve been atrocious”.

“Feels”? What the hack is that?
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People still have problems with Jews? Really? REALLY? I mean seriously, folks, there was more than one person posting on here who either straight out was ripping on Jews, or at least dismissing this guy for his religion. If you live in mid-east/Palestine- I might give you SOME (very little) slack on the archaic resentfulness of the Jewish population. But still- Really? Don’t you feel like you hopped off some pre- 1940's bandwagon of ignorance? That you may be trendy in circles of shaved head, angry kids, from Alabama- but that is not something to be proud of...

The real story here is that a school on the brink of collapse was able to be saved by someone willing to truly approach things differently. What is the saying, "you can’t do the same thing over and over and expect change". I agree with what Matthew says, there are larger issues plaguing the school system. Not just bad administrators. However I think you can pour as much money and resources as you want into schools, it is going to take someone with vision to use those resources for actual change.
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I don't think all my "jewish bros" work near 47th Street, but I'm also not dumb enough to think that every Jewish person (or even every Hassid) works in the diamond district. Do you think you're in the diamond district just because you see a Hassid or some jewelry stores?

But whatever, if you want to call it a diamond district, call it a diamond district. Who cares. What I don't understand is how someone as bigoted as you even survives in New York, a place where you're exposed to every race and religion you could imagine, and where you hear dozens of languages just walking down the street. If you feel compelled to ridicule people just because they wear black, or have beards, or even have different standards of hygiene than you, you must feel threatened by the world every time you step out your front door. Instead of recognizing the extraordinary work of the man in this article, you say, "Ooo he has hair on his face!" Yours must be a very sad life.

The alternative explanation, of course, is that you don't believe any of this stuff, but your life is so unbearably barren that you go online and say it anyway so that people like me will engage you. In either case, it's sad, and in either case, like zoomzoom, I'm out. Good luck with yourself.
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you know as much about where i live as you do about every other bit of nonsense you've spouted here. just because your relatives buy diamonds in lower manhattan doesn't mean there's a "diamond district" here; and just because lower manhattan is comprised of districts doesn't mean one of them is the diamond district. your evidence isn't evidence, and your logic is as feeble-mined as your opinions.

now i'm sure you'll come back with another addled response, filled with plenty of insults. knock yourself out, but i'm done.
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it's really amusing all the smelly haseeds, and there reformed brethren, came out in defense of c-dub, who obviously hasn't made one correct statement yet. it makes me smile to see c-dub make false accusation after false accusation. it's like watching a retarded chimp (with payos and yarmulke lol) bang his head on a wall time and time again.

My family, who has jewelry stores in tysons corner and naples florida, deal with the hasidics on a regular basis, in lower manhattan, much to their displeasure. Now zoomzoom, since you claim to live in Soho when I know by your statements that you don't... you would know lower manhattan is comprised of districts. There is the lighting district, the restaurant district, and the diamond district,etc. i suggest you research this fact on your own time then get back to me, k?

and sezhoo, i suggest you learn more about the city as you obviously know squat. if you were in Soho, which is closer to the 2nd largest diamond district in lower manhattan, people would assume you were talking about the one i said. but if you wanna think all your jewish bros work near 47th street then i shall leave your ignorance untouched. thanks for playing.

class dismissed. :)
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