Phil Donohue

Meet Phil Donohue the new assistant principal

 Man standing in front of a building

The halls are quiet, the campus is less crowded, and it is the perfect time to settle in, learn more about the facility and get ready for another school year. 

That is exactly what Phil Donohue has been doing, in addition to reviewing all the programs offered at the Center for Career Services. He is settling in as the new assistant principal and excited for the new year to begin.

Career and Technical Education has always been a part of his career path. He previously taught in CTE programs with the New York City Department of Education, focusing on computer science. Most recently, he taught video game design and also ran the department, overseeing staff hiring, conducting observations in classrooms and approving programs. He also ran city-wide professional development programs.

Two years ago, he and his family moved from Brooklyn and settled in Mamaroneck while he studied to earn his administrative license.

“To me it’s really important students get both hard and soft skills that are pragmatic,” Mr. Donohue said from his new office in Building D. “That they’ve learned something through internships and work-based learning experiences, like how to be a professional. I feel these skills are missing from high schools.”

“I think students learn best by doing,” he continued. “That’s been the center of my educational practice. Kids can’t sit for an hour and be talked at for 45 minutes at time. They need to use higher level thinking to solve problems. If that can be accomplished, other things will fall in line. They ask questions and learn organically through conversations and practice.”

A CTE program, he said, enables students to learn -- and use -- skills, get a professional license and be in a better position to “be on a path to a career.”

One of the many things he appreciates about CTE is that students arrive on campus on an even playing field.

“For many, that is invigorating,” he said. “It can also help academically lift a kid that has a focus. All of a sudden, they start to take themselves more seriously, which can transform into higher academics.”

In the New York City program where he worked previously, there were three programs available to students. He is excited that the Southern Westchester BOCES center offers 17.

Additionally, he is impressed with the number of years of experience the teachers have at the SWBOCES facility.

“Its impressive to have masters of the craft around,” he said. “I’m eager to learn more about the culinary arts, electrical and carpentry programs. I’m intrigued with animal science,” he said. “There is an attitude of professionalism that is here. Everyone takes this very seriously and is committed to a common goal. It’s great to be a part of that.”

Mr. Donohue grew up in New York City and earned a degree in English from Bates College in Maine. He worked in radio for a few years before returning to school for his master’s in teaching at Pace University in Manhattan. More recently, he earned a second master’s at Hunter College in educational leadership.

“I’m excited to be here and get started,” he said. “I have a passion for CTE, and this is a great place to wind up. I’m looking forward to getting to know our programs and students and to help everyone more forward and grow.”