New Principal of NSHS

Dear North Shore Parents, Community Members, and Faculty,
It is with pleasure and great pride that I announce that I will be recommending Mr. Eric Contreras as North Shore High School's next principal. Mr. Contreras joins us from Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan, and brings a wealth of experience to North Shore. Over the course of the past two months, we underwent a national search for a new principal. Informed by the input we received from surveys and all of our key stakeholder groups, I am confident that Eric's skills are a key match for North Shore and he will assume his role as principal on Monday, August 3, 2020. His experiences are extraordinary and he is well-positioned to help us to build upon our success and move us forward as a learning community. I expect him to be an outstanding addition to our leadership team. I am grateful to the many voices that informed the selection process. While complicated to do so in these socially distant times, I will look forward to introducing the community to Mr. Contreras over the next two months and into the fall.

Please read below for more information and our formal press release and join me in welcoming Eric to North Shore!!
New North Shore High School Principal to be Appointed 6.20 (3).pdf  (Download)

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    Very truly yours,

Dr. Peter Giarrizzo
Superintendent of Schools
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Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Peter Giarrizzo will recommend the appointment of Mr. Eric Contreras to the Board of Education on July 9th as North Shore High School’s next Principal, effective August 3, 2020. Dr. Peter Giarrizzo said, “Mr. Contreras brings 25 years of experience to North Shore as a teacher, assistant principal, director, and most recently, as principal of one of the nation's finest public high schools. From his very first interview, Eric demonstrated that he was a visible, student-centered leader and educator of the highest caliber. His record proves that he is a leader who focuses on student achievement, equity, and wellness.” 

“I join the North Shore High School family excited to work with a community that shares the same values that have driven my work as an educator for nearly a quarter century,” said Mr. Contreras. “These values include our shared focus on the whole child and their natural delight in learning and powers of the mind and body, a devotion to quality arts programming, and purposeful and thoughtful community collaboration in support of students, staff and families. There is a palpable sense of community, and I am humbled and grateful to earn my place as a proud and devoted member of our Viking community.”

Mr. Contreras currently serves as the principal of Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan, one of the nation’s premier high schools and a position he has held since August 2016. In his tenure as principal, he has created a new engineering program, strengthened the research program, doubled the number of students participating in the Regeneron research program, increased the number of National Merit Semifinalists, developed a writing center, expanded the music program, strengthened the language program to integrate culture with language, and increased the Computer Science program by adding courses including Artificial Intelligence, Cybersecurity, and Quantum Physics. In collaboration with the Guidance Department, he expanded the mental health program and implemented a freshman seminar for 9th graders focusing on topics that support acclimation to high school, citizenship, time management, and conversations on race and gender equity. Working with the Physical Education department, Mr. Contreras developed a wellness program that brings together local community businesses, chefs, and exercise experts to support healthy eating and lifestyles for our students and families. Additionally, with the NYPD and emergency response agencies, he introduced new safety protocols at Stuyvesant High School. During his leadership, parent, student and staff surveys increased in every category and alumni association initiatives expanded to include a mentoring program, diversity peer tutoring, and a career immersion program.

In his previous role, he served as the Executive Director of Social Studies at the New York City Department of Education. Under his leadership, his team supported Social Studies curriculum and instruction, professional learning, and partnerships for all 1800 NYC schools, serving 1.2 million students. As Executive Director, Mr. Contreras led the most comprehensive development of the K-12 Social Studies in over thirty years. The work was in collaboration with teachers, school leaders, university partners, museums, embassies, and National Archives.

He was a founding member of the Queens High School of Teaching where he served as Assistant Principal and Principal. Under his leadership, the school held the highest graduation rate in the district every year of his tenure. As principal, he tripled grant funding to the school, developed new partnerships with colleges for advanced coursework and college credit, and expanded the Advanced Placement (AP) offerings. Additionally, he served as an adjunct faculty member at CUNY where he has taught courses in Women’s History and Immigration History. He has also served as a member of the NYC City Council participatory budget committee, on the educational advisory boards at Adelphi University and Queens College, and has been a board member of the Queens YMCA.

Eric began his career as a court advocate at the Bronx Supreme Court, where he led efforts working with the district attorney’s office to provide job training and educational programs for high school students. He then worked as a social studies teacher in the Bronx and Queens, where he developed partnerships with local museums and universities and in addition to teaching AP history; he coached varsity fencing and golf teams.

In addition, Mr. Eric Contreras holds a Master of Arts degree (2005) in Educational Leadership from Long Island University - C.W. Post, a Master of Arts degree (2003) in Secondary Education from Mercy College, and a Bachelor of Arts degree (1995) from Binghamton University in history, emphasis on U.S. history.

He lives in Queens with his wife, a psychologist and their three children. His oldest daughter is in her second year of medical school and his sons are in middle school and high school in the NYC public schools. He enjoys swimming, cycling, and reading books focusing on the intersection of technology and social science.

President of the Board of Education, Ms. Sara Jones stated, “We could not be more thrilled to welcome Mr. Contreras to North Shore and are looking forward to having his experience and student-centered thoughtfulness at our high school. Dr. Giarrizzo and his administrative team conducted an extensive search with significant input from the district and the community, all with social distancing measures in place, and could not have been more successful.”

Superintendent Dr. Giarrizzo concluded by saying, “These past several months have been like no other and I welcome Eric to North Shore. He brings with him a wealth of experience, including curriculum design for the Department of Education and instructional leadership to over 200 faculty members, and 3,400 students at Stuyvesant High School. As an educator, he is a natural collaborator, problem-solver, and innovator and has worked to develop programming for all students across all areas of the curriculum for all students. Together, with our Board of Education, principals and entire leadership team, Dr. Zublionis and I are excited that Eric will meaningfully contribute to the work we are doing to support all students in North Shore. I expect him to quickly build relationships rooted in trust, with a keen focus on teaching and learning while meeting the diverse needs of our student body. We are excited to welcome Eric Contreras and his family to North Shore and look forward to the many opportunities where you can get to know him and he all of us.”
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Article by Shelly Newman