Training future generations


Make text smaller Make text larger


Hunter College High School’s principal on education, and his own atypical path


Photos





  • Fearless leader for HCHS' gifted students. Photo courtesy of Tony Fisher




Tony Fisher realized he wanted to be an educator when he was in 10th grade. When his best friend from high school needed someone to teach him all of geometry the night before the final exam, Fisher stepped up to the plate.

“I would say it was then that I knew I wanted to be a teacher,” said Fisher, now the principal of Hunter College High School on East 94th Street. “I just really enjoyed explaining stuff.”

As the principal of the one of the most prestigious high schools in Manhattan, Fisher serves as the fearless leader for Hunter’s 1,265 gifted students. During his time at HCHS, he has been an instrumental part of significant academic initiatives, such as the introduction of a mandatory ninth grade computer science course, the school’s Institute for Responsible Media, a computer science research program, and a school writing center.

One of his proudest accomplishments at Hunter has been differentiating the seventh and eighth grade students as an individual unit from the high school through separate counseling programs and advisory initiatives.

But in addition to academic initiatives, Fisher has also been a part of efforts to improve students’ mental health. For many of the school’s students, it can be difficult to stay mindful in such a high-pressure environment. As part of a recently-introduced pilot program, all seventh graders partake in exercises three days a week that focus on improving mindfulness and controlling breathing.

“If this makes some students less anxious and helps, then it’s worth it,” said Fisher, who hopes to extend the program to other grades, pending its success.

Although Fisher knew he was going to go into education eventually, he initially pushed it off. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Yale University, Fisher decided to continue his studies before going to teach.

“I figured if I went straight to teaching, I would never want to go back,” said Fisher, who chose to get his a Ph.D. in math from the University of Chicago after college.

“When I told people in the math department that I was going to teach high school, I got these really funny looks,” he remarked, explaining how his goals strayed from the traditional route of becoming a professor. “There was a lot of surprise that that’s what I was doing.”

Fisher started at HCHS in 2006 as chair of the school’s mathematics department. After a year, he was appointed assistant principal and three years after that, principal, a position he has served in for the past eight years.

Although a part of Fisher misses teaching students in the classroom, he has enjoyed his roles in administration as well. “Once I became an administrator, I discovered that I liked thinking about bigger pictures,” Fisher said. “I liked thinking about the whole school.”

A few years ago, Hunter came up a new approach to approaching school culture that focuses on six core values — compassion, creativity, curiosity, integrity, respect and responsibility.

To Fisher, these are the values he hopes students take with them when they graduate.

“I want students leaving here to think about how they’re leading their lives in those terms,” he remarked. “It’s so cheesy to say you want students leaving a place to go out and sort of think about making the world better. But I believe in it and I say it a lot.”





Make text smaller Make text larger

Comments



MUST READ NEWS

Image City to launch "Fair Fares" program
Budget allocates $106 million to fund discounted MetroCards for New Yorkers in poverty
Image Council: Crack down on parking permits
Police push back on bills targeting misuse of city-issued placards
Image Losing a neighborhood favorite

There was no indication that Nicola’s, the tiny food shop on First Avenue with the business card boast of “Serving Specialty Foods With Attitude...

Image Asian-Americans assail schools plan

Mayor has proposed elimination of test criteria for admission to specialized high schools

BY MICHAEL GAROFALO

Asian-Americans have voiced robust...

Image Parsing Patel's political posts
An insurgent's Twitter feed, and his oft-changing voter registration, could impact the campaign to represent the UES in Congress

VIDEOS



Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Neighborhood Newsletters





MOST READ

Local News
Losing a neighborhood favorite
  • Jun 18, 2018
Local News
Drawing board
  • Jun 12, 2018
Local News
Prescribing literacy
  • Jun 13, 2018
Crime Watch
Crime watch
  • Jun 18, 2018

MOST COMMENTED