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New Leadership at Highland High School

Highland High School (HHS) has welcomed a new assistant principal this summer: Evan Kirsch. He is filling the position that was left vacant by Kevin Murphy, who accepted a new role as the building’s principal in June.


Kirsch comes to Highland from Yonkers Public Schools, where he worked as a Health and Physical Education teacher at Palisade Preparatory School, a Grade 7-12 school that serves approximately 800 students. While there, he completed a one-year administrative internship, assisting with schoolwide efforts in the areas of data analytics, chronic absenteeism, student proficiency performance profiles, and more.


Upon his first visit to Highland, Kirsch—who is originally from Sullivan County— couldn’t help comparing the area to the rural community that he grew up in.   


“From the minute I stepped onto the campus it felt like home,” he said. “Everything from the people to the values to the scenery really reminded me of what I loved about my hometown. Once I learned more about what Highland has to offer, I was sold.”


Kirsch holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Millersville University of Pennsylvania and master’s degrees in the following areas: Sports Management (from the University of South Alabama); Arts in Teaching, Physical Education, and Sports Pedagogy (from Manhattanville College); Educational Leadership (from Long Island University); and Curriculum Development and Instructional Technology (from the University at Albany).


Kirsch began his career in education at the Enlarged City School District of Middletown before becoming a Health and Physical Education teacher in the Bronx. His teaching background, combined with a few years spent coaching college-level baseball, has given him experience working with students from all walks of life and taught him the value of teamwork.


“My focus is going to be on building relationships, not only with students and their families but also with the community at large,” he said, adding that he is looking forward to kicking off his first school year as a Highland Husky. “I am really happy to be here in this new role and excited to learn what I can do to help move the school—and the District—forward.”


Murphy said he is pleased to have Kirsch on board and has been working closely with him this summer in hopes of recreating the strong partnership he had with his predecessor, former HHS principal William Zimmer.


“Mr. Zimmer did a wonderful job getting the school to where it currently is,” said Murphy. “Highland has a high graduation rate, the students here are excelling in their courses, and our teachers are doing a phenomenal job getting students prepared for college and life after high school. My goal as principal is to pick up where Mr. Zimmer left off and keep everything moving in an upward direction.”


Murphy had no shortage of praise for the District’s new assistant superintendent for curriculum instruction. “I would like to thank Mr. Zimmer for his guidance, friendship, and support and I am looking forward to working with him in his new role,” he said.


Murphy, who recalls being welcomed with open arms when he was hired as assistant principal back in 2020, certainly understands the value of working in such a supportive and tight-knit community.


“I’ve had the opportunity over the last couple of years to build some amazing relationships with families and local businesses,” he said. “I am grateful to be able to continue the strong Highland tradition that was set before me, and I am committed to doing the best I can for our students, our families, and our community.”