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New Springhurst Principal Hails from Hastings

HASTINGS, N.Y. -- As a Hastings High School alumna and local resident, Julia Drake takes on her role as principal of Springhurst Elementary School with a unique understanding of the district's needs.

Drake comes to Dobbs Ferry after serving as principal at P.S. 147 in Brooklyn for the past three years. She oversaw students from Pre-K up through fifth grade at the elementary school and said the experience was invaluable.

"The experiences I had there will translate here in terms of the students, staff and families," Drake said. "I also was able to see what was really successful. That really helped me move our agenda forward and help students grow."

The Hastings resident began her teaching career in the Bronx as a special education teacher and later became a reading first coach. Drake said working so closely with students in special education helped her better understand the needs of all different types of children.

"I think students everywhere have similar needs," Drake said. "How are we meeting the needs of all our students? The high performing and the low performing students as well as kids who are right in the middle."

She also plans to use more statistical information to help better the elementary school.

"Part of my goal for Springhurst is to continue to take a look at the data we have," she said. "Take a very granular look at student performance and give each child what they need to be successful."

Rather than make any substantial changes, Drake said she plans on expanding some of the more successful programs already at the school.

"Our foreign language program is expanding to other grades," she said. "We also have an additional staff member coming on board and now our entire school is doing primary math."

As the new principal of Springhurst, Drake said her primary focus will be improving the work that's already been done before her.

"Really continuing the great work that's already been in the foundation of that initiative, but helping teachers to meet all the students needs collaboratively (is the goal)," she said.

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