PHS Profile: New Year, New Faces

Photo: Caroline Smith

Photo: Caroline Smith


New executive secretary for Principal Gary Snyder, Danette Rivera, came to PHS after working at Princeton University’s Department of Politics as a Graduate Program Administrator for Ph.D. students.

Growing up in the city, Rivera was able to enjoy many of the unique opportunities New York has to offer, including watching Broadway shows. “I lived close by the Central Park, so I walked in the park [often],” said Rivera.

One of Rivera’s many interests is cooking. “I like eating. The restaurants in New York city were very great for that; good food,” said Rivera. “I’m Puerto Rican, so I like to make Spanish food … But I’m really good at Italian food. I love pasta.”

At PHS, Rivera hopes to use her assets as a program and party organizer to help coordinate some events, like graduation, in the future.

  • Favorite breakfast food: Bacon and eggs
  • Favorite sports team: New York teams
  • Pets: I have a Yorkie. She’s 13 years old and she’s been with me since she was three months.


Photo: Caroline Smith

Photo: Caroline Smith

Rebecca McEvoy, GUIDANCE COUNSELOR ([email protected])

Born and raised in Kingston, New Jersey, Rebecca McEvoy is a temporary addition to the PHS staff. McEvoy is taking over permanent guidance counselor Sonia Moticha’s position until November, replacing her as guidance counselor for most PHS students with names that begin with L, M, or N.

After studying Business Management and Economics at Ramapo College of New Jersey, with a Masters in School Counseling at The College of New Jersey, McEvoy worked at MacMillan Publishing for eight years before changing careers to become a guidance counselor. Already familiar with the PHS community, she spent one and a half years at PHS as a guidance intern.

“[An important aspect of being a guidance counselor is] getting to know my students, their families, working collaboratively with parents, teachers and community members,” she said.

At home, McEvoy has two young children, Ellie, 3, and Parker, 9 months. She enjoys traveling, cooking, and dining out.

  • Favorite breakfast food: A bagel with cream cheese and lox
  • Favorite sports team: Philadelphia Eagles
  • Pets: Two cats
Photo: Caroline Smith

Photo: Caroline Smith

Michelle Kennedy, ENGLISH teacher ([email protected])

After spending most of her life in New York and teaching in Orange County, New York for 20 years, Michelle Kennedy is teaching English I at Princeton High School this year.

“The importance of being a teacher is the ability to influence and to help a young person, to build and develop their skills to become young writers and young readers and young thinkers,” Kennedy said. “The atmosphere [in the classroom] should be one that’s comfortable.”

Born in the Bronx, New York, and growing up in Westchester County, New York, Kennedy attended the State University of New York at Albany for her bachelor’s degree and New York University for her master’s. Now, Kennedy and her husband are renovating their new home while she also occupies her time with athletics. Kennedy enjoys biking, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, and cross-country skiing.

Kennedy said, “[At PHS] what I’d most like to do is to start a book club or a club that involves random acts of kindness.”

  • Favorite breakfast food: Bagel with blue cheese and a slice of tomato
  • Favorite sports team: The Giants, the Rangers … all the New York teams
  • Pets: A cat whose name is Sawyer … named after Tom Sawyer but also Sawyer from the TV show Lost, and hopefully getting a Labrador Retriever in the near future.
Photo: Caroline Smith

Photo: Caroline Smith

Ryan Walsh, MATH (Pre-calculus, AP Statistics) teacher ([email protected])

After playing soccer at Rider University and graduating in May, Ryan Walsh came to PHS for his first year teaching already equipped with experience here as a student teacher last spring. He is teaching Precalculus and AP Statistics, as well as coaching the freshman boys soccer team.

Walsh’s teaching philosophy centers around keeping students interested in the subject. “I think every teacher need to be fun, energetic, and bring some type of comic relief to the class,” he said. “[I strive to run] a relaxed classroom … [where] kids are doing the work, kids are engaged in the class … where kids aren’t afraid to ask questions, to come see me outside of the classroom, to talk to me about math, about college … where the kids have high expectations, but they’re excited to come to class.”

Outside of the classroom, Walsh is active and stays fit by biking, canoeing, and kayaking. He said, “I can’t sit still and sit around. It’s just not who I am.” Walsh is preparing for a half marathon in October by running every day.

  • Favorite breakfast food: Eggs. I eat eggs and peanut butter and jelly every single day!
  • Favorite sports team: Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Pets: Two yellow labs


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