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Jack Phillips to serve as interim High School Principal

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Jack Phillips will assume the High School Principal position for the 2023-24 year. Following the resignation of High School Principal Devan Ganeshananthan, Phillips will serve as Principal before the selection of a permanent replacement.

Former High School Principal Jack Phillips has been announced as the interim High School Principal for the upcoming academic year. Phillips is set to assume this role for the 2023-24 school year effective July 1, according to an email sent to the school community April 7 by Head of School Coreen Hester.

According to the email, Phillips previously served as Principal from 2013 to 2018.

Administrative Assistant Ruksana Murtaza said Phillips was an amazing leader during his time at the school.

“He was not only a great principal for the High School at that time, but also like a great community builder and someone who was really inclusive in how they took care of the High School,” Murtaza said.

Furthermore, Visual Arts Teacher Erik Niemi, who taught during Phillips’ tenure, said Phillips’ prior experience at the school will be beneficial to him when returning to the interim role.

“Both his experience and understanding of the school will help him to jump in and do this job effectively,” Niemi said.

Both his experience and understanding of the school will help him to jump in and do this job effectively.

— Visual Arts Teacher Erik Niemi

Student Council representative Joshua Victor (’26) said for Phillips to be successful in his role, he will need to continue directing the High School on a similar trajectory. 

“He just needs to resolve any short-term problems that come up and just keep the High School functioning as it is right now,” Victor said.

However, Niemi said Phillips has acquired valuable background during his time away from the school.

“Through his time away, he has gained some experience that could be really useful to our school through his professional sphere not working in schools, but working with schools,” Niemi said.

Furthermore, Murtaza said Phillips is conscious of the changes that have been made within the school community since his resignation.

“He’s cognizant of the fact that the community has changed a bit since he left in 2018,” Murtaza said. “He recognizes that the school is in a different place to where it was when he left.”

Victor said during the Student Council’s meeting with Phillips, he highlighted some key strategies to promote transparency between students and administrators. 

“H’s a good fit, especially considering some of the transparency issues that some of the past leaders and other ASL staff have had,” Victor said. “He spoke about how he could get rid of those by having constant communication with students via email and having students possibly attend meetings.”

Murtaza said humility was one of Phillips’ most admirable traits, and he never took credit for some major initiatives that he established.

“We wouldn’t have had an advisory today if it wasn’t for Dr. Phillips,” Murtaza said. “He started the advisory program under his leadership. He was always so humble and he never really wanted to take ownership of any of it.”

Furthermore, Niemi said Phillips’ ability to communicate with the school community also makes him an effective leader.

He started the advisory program under his leadership. He was always so humble and he never really wanted to take ownership of any of it.

— Administrative Assistant Ruksana Murtaza

“Dr. Phillips is a really charismatic and inspiring leader of the High School,” Niemi said. “He offers a vision which is usually expressed in really inspirational messages to the High School student body and faculty.”

Murtaza said her favorite memory of Phillips’ first stint at the school was during the week of Thanksgiving. She said Phillips sent an email to every High School student asking what they were thankful for in the hopes of assembling a presentation, yet he did not receive a single reply. Nonetheless, Phillips still planned an assembly. 

“After getting no replies, the assembly still took place, but he said he was going to invite students to come down onto the stage and ask them what they were grateful for, like an open mic,” Murtaza said. “It took a while but slowly, slowly, students started to come down on stage until there were more students on the stage than in the bleachers.”

Victor said he enjoyed being in the presence of Phillips and the new Interim Principal seemed passionate about his work.

“He’s genuinely just a good person,” Victor said. “He seems happy to interact with students and to do his job, which is very important.”

Overall, Murtaza said she thinks Phillips will be extremely aware of his responsibilities during his time back at the school.

“He will be sensitive to the role that he stepped into,” Murtaza said. “His responsibility is to help the High School move forward … whether it be through supporting the students or the faculty, but ultimately to leave the High School in a good place for the next [principal] to take over and continue the good work.”

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About the Contributor
Nassef Sawiris, Lead Sports Editor
Nassef Sawiris (’25) is the Lead Sports Editor for The Standard, and this is his third year in the publication. Sawiris began his journalism career 5 years ago on the Middle School newspaper, The Scroll. His love for writing covers various topics with the common goal of arguing his opinion and educating the community on issues he feels passionate about. He continues to actively participate in other extracurricular activities such as his role on the varsity soccer team along with his leadership position in the Investment Club.

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