Educator In Westchester Named NYS Principal Of Year

The principal of an elementary school in Westchester has earned one of New York State's top honors for educators. 

Farid Johnson, Principal of Siwanoy Elementary School in Pelham. 

Farid Johnson, Principal of Siwanoy Elementary School in Pelham. 

Photo Credit: School Administrators Association of New York State

Farid Johnson, the principal at Siwanoy Elementary School in Pelham, has been named the 2024 New York State Elementary Principal of the Year by the School Administrators Association of New York State, the organization announced on Thursday, March 21. 

The award is doled out to a member of the organization who is committed to excellence, has helped develop programs that meet the academic and social needs of all students, and has strong ties to parents and community members. 

According to the organization, Johnson earned the award thanks to accomplishments such as the Siwanoy CultureFEST (which stands for "Food, Entertainment, Stories, and Traditions"). The idea for the festival was "born out of the ideology of bringing everyone together to cultivate the idea that we are all different, and that is a beautiful thing!" Johnson said.

"Siwanoy did not have a cultural celebration to this magnitude before I became principal here, and if I ever leave, it is now a tradition that will always take place each spring," Johnson continued, also saying, "The impact on the community has been positive and overwhelmingly powerful." 

Johnson was also recognized for his "flexible thinking," according to the organization. 

"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," Johnson explained. 

Johnson, who has also worked at Stony Point Elementary School in Rockland County, has been active in New York education since 2004 and received his bachelor of science and master of science from Manhattanville College, in addition to a master of science from Bank Street College. 

He is now pursuing a doctorate of education at St. John Fisher. 

Alice Bowman, the Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning of Pelham Public Schools, spoke highly of Johnson.

"I can attest to his unwavering commitment to student wellbeing," Bowman said, adding, "He exemplifies a student-centered approach, demonstrating a genuine affinity for people and fostering an environment where students feel secure." 

Johnson and the other 2024 award winners will be recognized at the organization's annual awards celebration on Friday, May 3. 

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