From Rikers Island Prison Captain to A Leader In Education: Dr. Almanzar Says Goodbye, And BA Students Say He’ll Be Missed

 

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Photo: BA reporters Aria Eliacin (left) and Floyd Rideau (right) pose with Dr. Angel Almanzar (center)

by Floyd Rideau, Unique Edwards & Aria Eliacin

After 32 years of service in public education, Boyd H. Anderson High School’s Principal, Dr. Angel Almanzar, will retire after this school year comes to a end. A high school principal supervises and facilitates the daily operations of a public high schools. Dr. Almanzar has done this with 110% of his effort. From his early days as a New York state prison guard and captain, to his track record as an education leader, Dr. Almanzar’s career always involved public service. He will be missed. Lauderdale Lakes Middle School Principle James Griffin  – a graduate of Dillard High School and Bethune Cookman College, and known to many BA students who were formerly at his school, will take over in the fall.

Recently, Dr. Almanzar sat down with a couple of BA reporters to discuss his years of service, and his life in general. But to begin, here’s some context:

Under Dr. Almanzar, BA’s graduation rate has peaked to nearly 95 percent. Culinary, IB and aviation mechanics programs have flourished. A dual-enrollment program has grown to include dozens of students earning college credit while working towards their high school diplomas. Clearly, raising academic standards and vocational-training opportunities have been priorities.

The years haven’t been without struggle.  Fights have broken out, though Dr. Almanzar notes that they are far less frequent than when he got his start here years ago. Unfortunately, though, the local press keeps seizing on these moments to portray BA as an unsafe environment for children. Notably, a news network recently visited Ms. Dean’s class in recognition of her achievements as an IB English teacher. Another challenge has been sticking with certain disciplinary guidelines and conduct codes in a school where students – particularly young men – might lash out against both boundaries and too much freedom, and have little parental support or supervision at home. The policy against earphones received a lot of push back, Almanzar says, but he stuck with it to help raise the overall standard and enhance the learning environment at BA.

Overall, Dr. Almanzar leaves BA with peace of mind and great pride in students and faculty. With support from his staff, he says he strengthened BA’s foundation as a school of high academic standards and ethics that promotes the well-being and success of young people.

 “Every day, every day was a highlight for the simple fact that every day when I come to Boyd Anderson I feel that I do something positive for the student body,” Dr. Almanzar told us. See below for highlights of our interview. You can also listen to full audio of our interview by clicking on the link above.

CobraFirst48 News Reporters Surveyed A Number of Students About Dr. A’s Retirement. Here Are A Few Typical Responses:

“Our principal is a wonderful, well-rounded individual. His constant care for the students and the effort he made to make the school a better place will really leave an impact on us all. His departure will deeply affect our school in ways we cannot explain. I will sincerely miss him from the bottom of my heart. Have a wonderful time with whatever you decide to do, Dr. A!” (Kayla Blount)

“I feel like he worked hard to maintain the school at a high level, from the rules to the clubs and activities. His impact will be felt long after he’s gone” (Akeem Ridley)

“Dr. Almanzar is such a great principal. I will never forget him. To me, he knows how to keep the students in balance, with good attitudes and he makes sure we stay safe at all times. He is also super helpful.” (Paige Allen)

 

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