Owl Outlook

The Student News Site of William Cullen Bryant High School

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Owl Outlook

The Student News Site of William Cullen Bryant High School

Owl Outlook

Owl Outlook

Bryant Spotlight: an Interview with the Principal

For this edition of the Bryant spotlight, junior Humaira Jannat interviewed Principal St. Aubain
Bryant+Spotlight%3A+an+Interview+with+the+Principal

As the school year is coming to an end, what better way to end this year’s work than hearing from our Principal? I had the pleasure of interviewing Principal St. Aubain, to listen about the plans for the following school year and how her shift from being an AP to a Principal was like. I’m glad to share some interesting information about our principal and her own dreams along with what her personal life may feel like. The Owl Outlook looks forward to the next school year! 

 

Humaira: How are you today?

Principal St. Aubain: I’m doing well, thank you! Looking forward to this!

Humaira: Me too! I want to start off by asking, has this always been a career choice for you being surrounded by students in a school? 

Principal St. Aubain: I started off wanting to pursue a career more in the healthcare field. That’s what led me to attend SUNY Stony Brook University. Because that was my first passion. So what I did while I was an undergrad, I quickly learned and went to training certificate programs to learn phlebotomy and as I started working in that profession, I noticed it was not for me. But while I was at Stony Brook, I did have an opportunity. I took a course that led itself to an internship where I did some Adaptive Aquatics. Adaptive Aquatics is where you do physical therapy in the water. And I did it with young students that had some challenges physically and needed some support.  And that was an amazing opportunity. That’s why, you know, really led me into wanting to go into that field. However, when I left, I noticed that I wanted to work with children. And that’s what led me into Fast Forward education, and special education. So my background is a special education educator. I’ve always been an advocate for students with IEP that have a different way of learning, I don’t believe in a one size fits all model. I believe that, you know, we all have our own way of learning, and that we should be given an equitable opportunity to learn in an environment that we will excel in.

Humaira: That’s great! Oh wow, I never knew that! We know that you were an AP before? What was the shift like for you? 

Principal St. Aubain: I mean, it was a heavy load. But I was ready, and willing to roll up my sleeves, and put on a different hat, to support the Bryant community to support our families, our students, and the staff in the best way possible. It took some time for me to transition into the role, it’s a much different seat. Now it’s your vision and your mission. But I also wanted it to be a collaborative conversation that allowed me to get a better pulse of the school community and understand their needs, and what challenges they were facing, and then how I could best serve the school community. So last year, I did a lot of, you know, I took a lot of time to just build that school community, right. Listen, I did a lot of listening tours, listening to our students, listening to our different staff members, listening to the community, the you know, our families, our community partners around the school just to hear and understand, you know, what are their needs? 

You are capable of achieving anything and everything you set yourself to achieve goals, to set high goals.

— Principal St. Aubain

Humaira: What are some of your new plans or visions for the future in Bryant? 

Principal St. Aubain: Oh, my God, I have so many! Our students are asking me for a lot more elective courses, they’re asking me for courses that they’re going to transfer when they leave high school which  allows them to either be successful in a career or in the workforce. So I’m looking at like, how are we ensuring that our curriculum is aligned to that, right? Interpersonal skills, being able to collaborate and work collaboratively in groups with other students or the members? Because that’s what’s required in college and life? Also how we would utilize our technology to support students, because I’m aware that students don’t want to put their cell phones down. We don’t want students to just be so dependent on the phone. But to utilize it as a tool in order to support them. I’m also looking at increasing opportunities to afford our students, more college level courses for our students that will be transitioning into college. How can that start here at high school? 

Humaira: That’s true. So what does your day to day routine look like?

Principal St. Aubain: I spend a lot of time meeting, especially now this time of the school year, a lot of meetings to prepare for next school year summer school planning. But normally my day to day is more spent time outside of the office, spending time interacting with students visiting classrooms, just to have an idea as to what’s happening with our curriculum with our instruction, and ensuring that our students are working to the best of their ability, and when they’re not, what can we do as a school community to support that? I spend time meeting with the assistant principals listening to their concerns, providing them a level of support, working with different members of the school community, from our custodial staff to our guidance counselors to our secretaries and school aids.

Humaira: Shifting from school, what are some things that you do to keep yourself grounded? Imagine you wake up in the morning, what are some things that help you throughout the day?

Principal St. Aubain: I grew up in a home that is spiritual so I start off my day with that component. And from there, it allows me to just have more of an open type of field to the day. So whatever challenges that I will face, good or bad, I’m not facing them alone. And then from there, I’m on my commute to work. If I’m not speaking to one of my family members, because I use my commute to touch base with my siblings. I’m also making sure that my kids are up, that’s one of the things I must do, because I have teenage kids as well, in your ages, so I know the struggles of parents. But then I spent some time listening to books in the car, I listened to a lot of audiobooks, different articles or books and research to keep my professional growth. But as for my own mental state, I tried in the beginning of the year to incorporate more exercise, that’s been a challenge. So what I’ve tried to do more is to make sure that I have a lot more steps. Yeah, and really, you know, stop and take a pause and take care of your own mental state. Social emotional because that’s important, especially with this work where you always feel like you’re being pulled and pushed. Everyone needs to stop and take care of themselves because that’s important.

Humaira: If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?

Principal St. Aubain: I wouldn’t call it a change. But I would want to see that our marginalized groups have equitable access. to opportunities. Because we hear equity, but it’s not as equitable.I would like to see a real system and structure put in place not just in our educational system, but in the way that our world is.

Humaira: If you could say something to your 10 year old self, what would it be?

Principal St. Aubain: You are capable of achieving anything and everything you set yourself to achieve goals, to set high goals. And you’re able and capable of doing it. And you will have people, resources and tools along the way to support you to ensure that you obtain that like there’s nothing stopping you from achieving what you can. 

Humaira: That’s nice! I feel like we’re coming to the end. This is really good!

Principal St. Aubain: You caught me by surprise, I love spending time and seeing how my students are, being interviewed by someone like you? Thank you!! 

 

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About the Contributor
Humaira Jannat
Humaira Jannat, Contributor
Humaira is a junior in William Cullen Bryant High School. She enjoys running in the mornings and reading late at night. She loves to bake, journal and capture life through her digital camera.