SWBOCES principal honored for work with incarcerated youth

Dr. Michele Darby recognized by Westchester Department of Correction  

Dr. Michele Darby holding her award.Southern Westchester BOCES principal, Dr. Michele Darby, has been recognized by the Westchester County Department of Correction for her “outstanding vision, dedication and commitment to excellence in education” for her work with students at the Sprain Brook Academy.

The Academy, which is housed at the Westchester County jail, serves incarcerated students through a partnership between the county and Southern Westchester BOCES. It fulfills the mandate under the state constitution that all students receive the education they deserve. SWBOCES also provides instruction through its Adult Education programs to those over 18 who are housed at the jail. 

Dr. Darby was presented with the award at a recent gathering of leadership from the Department of Correction and the SWBOCES Center for Adult & Community Services. 

“Education is a vital component of our rehabilitation efforts, and Dr. Darby’s dynamic leadership at the BOCES Incarcerated Youth Program helped shape and change the lives of many of our high school students," said Commissioner of Correction Joseph K. Spano. "In a short period of time at WCDOC, she advanced our educational programming and successfully motivated her staff and students to do better every day. Her work and contributions continue to be impactful and will always be appreciated.”

Dr. Darby, who is currently principal at SWBOCES' Special Services program at the Pocantico Hills School, expressed her appreciation for the honor. Her work with incarcerated youth was incredibly meaningful for her, she said, and it means so much to have that work recognized by those with whom she partnered.

"I feel so passionate about the work my staff and I were able to do on behalf of our Sprain Brook Academy students," Dr. Darby said. "We work under the belief that every student matters so we work individually with each one to ensure academic and social emotional growth. Working closely with my staff and the WCDOC to make a difference in their lives has been incredibly rewarding, and I thank the Westchester County Department of Correction for allowing me that opportunity for honoring our work in this way."

Claudia Murphy, Senior Director of Adult, Community and Career Services, said the partnership with the Westchester County Department of Correction has long been a point of pride for Southern Westchester BOCES and an example of its mission to serve all students in our communities.

 "We congratulate Dr. Darby on this award and thank County Commissioner Spano for recognizing her work so graciously," Ms. Murphy said. " Dr. Darby and the IYP teachers and staff  have impacted students’ lives immeasurably.  This is a well-deserved honor and a reflection of the mission, vision and values we embrace as educators."