New interim principal is no stranger at Bronx High School of Science

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The Bronx High School of Science is welcoming one of its own as its new principal. 

Elaine Lindsey, who is superintendent of Districts 7, 10 and 12, named Bronx Science graduate and longtime physical science teacher Jean Donahue interim principal of the elite school last month.

Ms. Donahue, the previous assistant principal of the school’s biology and physical science departments, took over the post from a divisive predecessor.

The school’s former principal Valerie Reidy retired last year following a hazing scandal as well as faculty protests over her management style, which her critics described as vindictive.

Ms. Donahue, whose daughter and husband are also Bronx Science graduates, plans to employ her multifaceted understanding of the school to maintain its legacy.

“I’m not an outsider,” Ms. Donahue, a native Riverdalian, said during a recent interview at her office. “I know our culture of excellence here. I also know the challenges that we face.”

Ms. Donahue said she especially values her time as a parent of a Bronx Science student, saying that it makes her more attuned to both parents’ and students’ needs.

Ms. Donahue declined to discuss the school’s recent controversies in detail. Police arrested three students at the height of a hazing scandal involving the school’s track team in February during Ms. Reidy’s tenure, which was also marked by teacher complaints and protests over alleged verbal abuse and retributive actions.

“All I’m going to say is, the safety and security of the students is my primary concern,” Ms. Donahue said when asked about her strategy for dealing with hazing.

“I think we have all approved safety plans, we have all security measures in place and I think we’re really a safe and secure environment.” 

Between her stints as a student and teacher at Bronx Science, Ms. Donahue spent years in research and academia.

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