The Class of 2013 will not be the only ones leaving Malverne High School at the end of the school year. Principal James Brown will be retiring at the end of June.
Malverne Board of Education President Peg O'Connor made the announcement Tuesday night after the board unanimously accepted Brown's retirement, albeit with regret.
"I can't thank you enough for everything you've done for this community," O'Connor told Brown. "I thank you very much for your time and your loyalty."
Brown began as the interim principal at the high school in February 2008 and was appointed principal in February 2009, but he had spent two years working in Malverne in the early 2000s.
“This position is especially appealing to me due to the very positive and enjoyable experience I had in the district during my previous two-year tenure,” Brown had stated in his 2008 cover letter to the district. “During that time, I enjoyed great relationships with, and the support of, the entire school community.”
In the same letter, Brown had also stated that he was “confident he could lead Malverne High School to even greater heights.”
Since his tenure at the school, the graduation rate has increased, the number of students on the honor roll has risen dramatically, and the suspension rate of students has dropped by half.
Recalling his interview with Brown in 2008, Malverne Schools Superintendent James Hunderfund said, "I knew that after two hours of talking with you that you were the right father for these kids and you have done everything for them beyond our wildest expectations."
Hunderfund described Brown as a "giving, kind, God-loving person" and a "tremendous leader" who all students look up to and respect.
As an example of his generosity and how much he cared for Malverne's kids, Hunderfund explained that when the basketball team came one game shy of winning the championship in their division, Brown bought them all jackets with his own money to commemorate their successful season.
"This school is a better place, because of your leadership and your fathership of these children," Hunderfund told Brown. "We will miss you."
Brown began his career as a math teacher at Roosevelt Junior-Senior High School in the Roosevelt School District, where he quickly worked his way up to dean of students. He then served as assistant principal and then principal of Dodd Middle School in Freeport, before becoming an interim high school principal for two years in Malverne. He holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration and education from Hofstra University and a Master of Science in educational administration from New York University.