Veteran Educator Dr. Thomas McBryde Jr. is Named to Lead Community District 19
By James Harney
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
One of Brooklyn’s easternmost school districts is approaching the upcoming school year with new leadership, and new hope that past troubles are behind it.
Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña this week announced the appointment, effective Sept. 1, of veteran educator Dr. Thomas McBryde Jr. as Acting Superintendent of Community School District 19.
McBryde replaces Joyce Stallings-Harte, who, Farina’s office said, has accepted a position as special adviser to the Department of Education’s Office of School Support and Supervision.
The Chancellor’s Office touted McBryde as “a dedicated instructional leader with over 16 years of experience,” having begun his teaching career as an eighth grade teacher in Atlanta.
McBryde joined New York City’s Department of Education (DOE) in 2009 as a resident principal at Esperanza Preparatory Academy in East Harlem. Later, he served at the helm of the Mott Hall IV Middle School in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
Most recently, he has been the principal leadership facilitator in Manhattan’s School District 4, where, the Chancellor’s Office said, “he has been instrumental in providing professional development support and resources to school leaders.”
DOE Senior Deputy Chancellor Dorita Gibson said McBryde “is committed to creating welcoming learning environments and building capacity in all schools to increase student achievement, support strong instruction and strengthen family and community ties.”
McBryde said he was “thrilled to serve the District 19 community and look[s] forward to supporting the district’s students, families, teachers, school leaders and staff members.
“My focus will be on strengthening every school and fostering a shared vision of high quality instruction, accountability and responsibility of transforming students into life-long learners and prepared citizens,” he added.
Located in the southeast corner of Brooklyn, District 19 serves 34 schools in East New York, Cypress Hills, Starrett City, City Line, New Lots, Spring Creek and Highland Park.
The district has a few successful schools and is home to P.S. 89, the only K-8 Spanish/English dual-language school open citywide.
But perhaps the best known school within District 19’s borders is the former Thomas Jefferson High School, whose famed alumni include actors Jimmy Smits and Danny Kaye, boxer Riddick Bowe, animator Ralph Bakshi, former New York City Deputy Mayor Stanley Brezenoff and children’s book author Ezra Jack Keats.
Jefferson High was closed in 2007 for poor academic performance. It was renamed the Thomas Jefferson Educational Campus and now houses four small schools: the High School for Civil Rights; the FDNY High School for Fire and Life Safety; the Performing Arts and Technology High School and the World Academy for Total Community Health (WATCH) School.
In 2015, two of the Jefferson Educational Campus schools were graduating about 70 percent of their students, but the other two managed graduation rates only in the 50 percent range. Overall statewide in 2015, about 78 percent of students who entered high school in 2011 graduated on time.