Past Features

December 11, 2006 (Vol. 4, No. 7)

High School of American Studies Wins Award—and Gets a New Principal

Alessandro Weiss
Alessandro Weiss
Alessandro Weiss, assistant principal of the Bronx High School of Business, has been named as the new principal of the High School of American Studies (HSAS) at Lehman College—just as HSAS is honored as one of the city's outstanding public high schools.

Weiss earlier taught English and social studies at William Howard Taft High School, where he received "Teacher of the Year" awards from both the Superintendent of Bronx High Schools (1995) and a local Bronx chapter of the NAACP (2002). He also served for a time as the school's coordinator of pupil personnel services and was on the Chancellor's District Re-Design Team for the school (2001-2003), which recommended that it be divided into the Bronx High School of Business and two other theme-based schools.

A graduate of Swarthmore College, Weiss holds a master's in educational administration from Pace University. He succeeds the school's founding principal, Myra Luftman, who retired after many years as a teacher and administrator in both New York City and California schools. They both attended a ceremony earlier this fall at the Claremont Preparatory School, where they accepted the Manhattan Media Association's 2006 Blackboard Award, presented to the High School of American Studies as the "Outstanding Public High School in New York City."

The school was selected for the award as a result of a comprehensive study conducted by a team of educational experts, who described and evaluated early childhood, elementary, middle and high school educational opportunities for the City's children. The company, which publishes several community newspapers, created the awards in 2002 to highlight notable achievements by schools across all of New York's educational systems—public, independent, and religious.

"The Blackboard Award," Weiss says, "is proof that this school is among the very best in New York City. We are proud, in particular, to be located in the Bronx and to serve the Bronx community." He noted that the award "is also due in large part to our collaboration with Lehman College, which has welcomed us to its campus and generously provided us with its full support."

Opened in Fall 2002, the school is one of nine specialized public high schools whose students are admitted through competitive exam. It offers a rigorous college preparatory curriculum, with an emphasis on U.S. history and politics. Weiss noted that the school was "fortunate to be partnered with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, which provides materials and resources that enliven our teaching of American studies." Last June, 100 percent of the school's first graduating class was accepted to college.