Thursday, May 14, 2015

R.I.P Derrick Griffith

I have terrible news from the Amtrak crash. I just found out that Derrick Griffith, the founding principal of CUNY Prep, and one of the most talented educators I have ever known, was one of those who died in that terrible tragegy. Derrick not only was responsible for founding a school that created a place for hundreds, and eventually, thousands of students other schools had given up on, he was also indirectly responsible for creating the Bronx Berlin Youth Exchange, a wonderful cross cultural program that still is linking young people from those two urban centers. With Derrick's support, a teacher at CUNY Prep, Katie Belanger Wilson, made that school the official NY Partner in this amazing initiative. Derrick, who left CUNY Prep and is now an administrator at Medgar Evers, was the single most effective principal I have ever met in reaching and motivating young people who had dropped out of school and who had learned to trust few adults. He was a precious gift to our world of educators, and an even more precious gift to the young people of New York City. His death is a loss of incalculable proportions to everyone who worked with him, had been mentored by him, had been inspired by him. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, but his shining example will remain with me as long as I am in a classroom and as long as I work with young people. R.I.P. Derrick Griffith. My friend. My hero.