North Shore school board names new H.S. principal

Rose Weldon
Eric Contreras has been named North Shore High School's next principal. (Photo courtesy of North Shore School District)

Eric Contreras was been named the new principal of North Shore High School by the North Shore School District’s board of education.

Superintendent of Schools Peter Giarrizzo recommended Contreras’ appointment at the school board’s meeting on July 9, and said that the district had been undergoing a national search for the position, informed by the input received from community surveys.

“Mr. Contreras brings 25 years of experience to North Shore as a teacher, assistant principal, director, and most recently, as principal of one of the nation’s finest public high schools,” Giarrizzo said. “From his very first interview, Eric demonstrated that he was a visible, student-centered leader and educator of the highest caliber. His record proves that he is a leader who focuses on student achievement, equity, and wellness.”

Contreras currently serves as the principal of Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan, one of the nation’s premier high schools and a position he has held since August 2016. While principal, he created and implemented a new engineering program, doubled the number of students participating in the Regeneron research program, increased the school’s number of National Merit Semifinalists, opened a writing center, expanded the music program, and developed the computer science program by adding courses including Artificial Intelligence, Cybersecurity, and Quantum Physics.

In addition to curricular developments at Stuyvesant, Contreras joined with the school’s guidance department to expand the mental health program and implemented a seminar for freshmen designed to acclimate freshmen to high schools.

Additionally, he worked with the physical education department to develop a wellness program, and with the New York Police Department and local emergency response agencies, to introduce new safety protocols.

Before working at Stuyvesant, Contreras served as the executive director of social studies at the New York City Department of Education. Under his leadership, his team supported social studies curriculum and instruction, professional learning, and partnerships for New York City’s schools.

Contreras first worked as a social studies teacher in the Bronx and Queens, served as principal of the Queens High School of Teaching, then served as an adjunct faculty member at schools run by the City University of New York, where he has taught courses in history. He also served as a member of the New York City Council’s participatory budget committee, on the educational advisory boards at Adelphi University and Queens College, and has been a board member of the Queens YMCA.

In addition, Contreras holds an M.A. in educational leadership from Long Island University – C.W. Post, an M.A. in secondary education from Mercy College, and a B.A. degree from Binghamton University in history.

“I join the North Shore High School family excited to work with a community that shares the same values that have driven my work as an educator for nearly a quarter century,”  Contreras said. “These values include our shared focus on the whole child and their natural delight in learning and powers of the mind and body, a devotion to quality arts programming, and purposeful and thoughtful community collaboration in support of students, staff and families. There is a palpable sense of community, and I am humbled and grateful to earn my place as a proud and devoted member of our Viking community.”

Contreras, who is succeeding outgoing principal Albert Cousins, will start in his position on Aug. 3.

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