Disruptor Prize Awarded to Queens Farm Leader
When tech entrepreneurs and business leaders use the term “disruption,” they’re usually celebrating a new app, not educators teaching people how to raise chickens and goats and cultivate cabbages.
This year, though, the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards honored CSA member Steven Perry, an assistant principal and longtime head of the Agriculture Department at John Bowne High School in Queens.
The award is meant to showcase “breakthroughs occurring at the intersection of technology and culture where frequent clashes and resistance to change impede social progress and solutions for some of the world’s most vexing problems.”
Mr. Perry attended the school himself, then became a teacher there in 1983. He took on the job of assistant principal in the agriculture department in 1996. The award hosts emphasized that he has been offered the principal job there several times but turned it down to remain at his post with agriculture students.
While he has been leading the program, student enrollment has doubled. He expanded its curriculum to include aquaculture, hydroponics, large animals, aviculture and other disciplines.
The career and technical education program boasts a 98 percent graduation rate and a 92 percent college acceptance rate. Many of Mr. Perry’s grads go on to pursue agricultural majors and careers.
“After 35 years, to be acknowledged for building a program I truly love and believe in is all one could hope for with regard to a career,” Mr. Perry said.
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