Yorktown Sentry

Meet Mr. Conroy

Mr.+Conroy+as+he+talks+to+students+in+the+hallways.
Mr. Conroy as he talks to students in the hallways.

Mr. Conroy as he talks to students in the hallways.

Charlotte Cooke

Charlotte Cooke

Mr. Conroy as he talks to students in the hallways.

Sofie Dalton, Sentry Staff Reporter

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Coming to a new school can be difficult, but freshman class Vice Principal Emmet Conroy has made his transition into the Patriot family look seamless. In just his first month in his new role, Conroy has been seen directing traffic in the senior lot, greeting students throughout the day and brightening up the hallways with his smile and positive attitude. Conroy is used to adapting to different school environments, as he has worked at many different schools throughout his career as an educator and administrator.

Conroy’s background in the educational field is quite extensive, but he did not always picture himself working in the classroom.

“I went to Georgetown University. I studied at the School of Foreign Service and I studied international politics, [so I] thought I would be moving into a career in politics or the law or something like that,” Conroy said.

A year spent abroad in Nicaragua introduced Conroy to a new passion: teaching. While living in Nicaragua, he taught English, built houses and was able to make a positive difference in people’s lives.

“During that year I really loved being around people and helping people … so I came back to New York and decided I’d try out substitute teaching,” Conroy said.

Conroy’s experience at a bilingual elementary school in the South Bronx confirmed that teaching was something he wanted to pursue further.

“I loved it; I was in a different classroom every day … a lot of [the kids] were newly arrived immigrants from Central America, and I said ‘oh man, I really like this,’” Conroy said.

Conroy’s passion for teaching led him to apply for a permanent teaching job. He received one at a boarding school in Connecticut, and after two enjoyable years there, he began teaching at a private school in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. It was then that Conroy decided teaching was what he wanted to do with his life.

“I hadn’t really studied anything to do with teaching, and I decided I was really going to go for teaching and education, so then I took some time off and I got a couple different master’s degrees. One was in Spanish Language and Literature … the other was in teaching social studies,” Conroy said.

After going back to school himself, Conroy jumped back into the classroom to teach others. He worked at a public school outside of New York City teaching both history and Spanish. He then moved to the DC area in 2004 and taught International Baccalaureate (IB) Spanish at George C. Marshall High School in Fairfax County. However, Conroy’s own experience as a student was not over yet. He decided that he wanted to try being an administrator, and attended the University of Virginia’s northern campus in Falls Church in order to obtain his master’s degree in education supervision and administration.

Conroy found a job as an assistant principal at an alternatively accredited high school in Arlington called Arlington Community High School.

“Most of the students are eighteen or older; there’s no upper age limit, so the students at that high school … want to get a high school diploma. But a lot of them are working either during the day or at night, so there are a lot of flexible schedules: they can go to school either in the evening or in the morning or a little of both, whatever works for them,” Conroy said.

After five years there, Conroy wanted to return to a comprehensive high school and had the opportunity to come to 5200 Yorktown Boulevard.

“I love the vibrancy here …. There are a lot of really cool things going on, a lot of sports teams, a lot of clubs, and there’s something here for everyone, and I really find that to be great,” Conroy said.

Conroy also appreciates the students and staff here who have helped make him feel welcome.

“The students here are very respectful, they are engaging, they’re curious, they want to learn …. I’ve met a lot of wonderful colleagues here: teachers, staff members, fellow administrators, all of whom have been very helpful with the questions that I have, so I love the fact that I’m working with a group of adults who have a common goal and vision of what they want,” Conroy said.

Conroy’s average workday involves coming into school early, greeting students before first period, attending meetings throughout the day, going into classrooms, talking with teachers and dealing with any unexpected occurrences and issues that may arise.

“I love it …. The day goes by very quickly,” Conroy said.

Conroy epitomizes an incredible educator not just because of his dedication within the school walls but because of his genuine passion for learning.

“I always say that if I had all the money in the world, I think all I’d want to do is be in classrooms learning from all these great people,” Conroy said.

Outside of school, Conroy enjoys spending time with his family. He has three children and spends time taking them to a wide range of sports from basketball to swimming.

“We love going outdoors, we spend a lot of time hiking …. We love to be on the water kayaking, boating …. We also love the mountains; we spend a lot of time camping … so lots of activities but we center it all around a lot of family time,” Conroy said.

Conroy is happy to be one of our head Patriots and is looking forward to a great school year. If you see him in the halls, smile and wave. One thing that is for certain is he will always smile and wave back.

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