Jennifer Connolly founded Rockaway Park High School for Environmental Sustainability in August 2010. Prior to becoming the founding Principal of Rockaway Park High School, Ms. Connolly worked as a teacher, school counselor and an Assistant Principal. Most of Ms. Connolly’s career was spent working in District 79. District 79 is a unique city wide network of over 300 alternative schools and programs serving disengaged, over aged and under-credited youth whose schooling has been interrupted for a range of life circumstances—from pregnancy to incarceration to immigration to prior school failure. It was while working in District 79 that Ms. Connolly was able to see that students, despite any obstacle that they may face can be successful provided that they are given the proper support. Ms. Connolly built Rockaway Park High School on the notion that all students deserve to be in a school where the adults know them well, care about them as individuals, hold them to high expectations and prepare them to be successful in college.
Rockaway Park and its surrounding neighborhoods is a place that Ms. Connolly holds near and dear to her heart. Ms. Connolly was born in the Rockaways and her mother, Bari Randal graduated from Far Rockaway High School. Ms. Connolly’s maternal grandmother was a school crossing guard in the neighborhood and her grandfather was a local mechanic.
Ms. Connolly graduated with honors from Elon College in North Carolina. She learned at Elon that the key ingredients for success was to find the cross between what you are passionate about and good at. Ms. Connolly’s commitment and passion to ensure equity in the most disadvantaged neighborhoods is what drives her ambition to lead a school where students have the same access to great teachers, rigorous curriculum and first class resources.
Ms. Connolly is honored to be the Principal at Rockaway Park High School and is proud to serve the community.