Head Principal Andrew Downs Leaves for FHC

Head Principal Andrew Downs is leaving FHN to spend more time with his family and focus on academics at FHC


Credit to Kaili Martin

Head principal Andy Downs works on his computer in the office. After the end of this school year, Downs will become an assistant principal at FHC. Downs has been the head principal at FHN since the 2013-14 school year.

By Sophie Carite

Andrew Downs leans back in a dark blue office chair. Surrounded by the same light gray office walls that he was when he took over the position of head principal at FHN five years ago. Downs reflects on his time spent at North with a faint smile on his face, remembering the individual students, families and faculty members he’s gotten to meet and interact with in his time as head principal.

At the end of the 2017-2018 school year Downs will leave his position at FHN to fill in the role of Associate Principal at FHC. While Principal at FHN, Downs oversaw all aspects of managing the school, but the associate principal position has a particular focus on the academic achievement side of overall school improvement, which Downs is looking forward to.

“Ultimately, the job I’ll be doing is more academic minded which is something I am very interested in and passionate about,” Downs said. “It will also give me some opportunity to be with my own family, not that I don’t love the kids here and the families that are here.”

In his nine years spent at FHN, Downs says he has dedicated himself to working with the whole school community to be able to see FHN students improving academically and getting better scores each year on state testing. Aside from that, he also made sure the school would see an increase in the importance of student voices. He hopes that student involvement will continue to grow and flourish after he leaves.

To Downs, the best part of his experience at FHN was the people he was able to work with and the students he was able to see grow.

“It’s been really wonderful to be able to be a part of the community for so long and see brothers and sisters matriculate through the school and be able to see entire spans of families go through and graduate,” Downs said.

The graduating seniors in 2018 will be the last and one of the only classes that had Downs serve as their head principal for the entirety of their high school experience. For Downs, this makes his goodbye just a little more bittersweet.

“Every time I’ve talked to him, he’s seemed like he’s really excited to be here and to help students in any way that he can,” senior Connor Gallagher said.

Before he began working at FHN nine years ago, Downs was in his first administrative position at FHC. The current head principal at FHC, Sonny Arnel, hired Downs 11 years ago as the dean of students. Downs originally left to pursue the new opportunity of working at FHN as an assistant principal then later as the head principal. However, Downs says that he’s excited to return, and according to Arnel, the staff at FHC is glad to have him back.

“Mr. Downs cares a lot about making an environment where students can thrive,” Arnel said. “He understands how to incorporate parents into school and were so excited for him to bring his talents back to FHC.”