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  • Bailey McFadden

A Conversation With New Assistant Principal Jennifer Tully

At the end of last year, Assistant Principal Gradis White left School Without Walls. Many students were curious as to who his replacement would be. I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with that very person, Assistant Principal Jennifer Tully, to talk about her new position.

Ms. Tully started her career in New York as a special education teacher.

“First I was working in a small resource room, and then special education evolved a little bit to be more inclusive, so I became a co-teacher collaborating with different high school teachers [in the classroom].”

From there, she moved to working with a network of schools, to “transform schools to be more inclusive…we undid a lot of self-contained classrooms, re-did budgets.” She adds “My focus was always on secondary schools.”

After this, Ms. Tully went on to conduct instructional coaching in the classroom, “using [her] experience to support teachers, to really extend their practices and strategies and figure out how to be more responsive to the kids in their classrooms.”

At the start of the pandemic, Ms. Tully and her family moved back to her hometown: Washington, D.C. “Once I had kids, we decided it made more sense to be close to family,” she said. She was drawn to Walls because she thought as an application-only school, every student would want to be there.

Towards the end of our conversation, I asked if she had been given a piece of advice that had stuck with her.

“Professionally, I have heard from several people that I respect and admire that they always keep the students at the forefront of what they’re doing… How can we best support the students and keep them a priority? A lot of times it’s easy to get distracted with everything else, because education’s complicated.”

She adds, “But more personally, my mom gave me the advice to always be honest…and even when I find it very challenging I stick with that, and I think that has served me well.”

I know I speak for all of Walls when I say: Welcome, Ms. Tully!

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