Assistant Principal Phillip Yarborough steps down; replaced by Gregory Miller

Assistant+Principal+Phillip+Yarborough+poses+with+sophomores+Rafe+Epstein+%28left%29+and+Quentin+Corpuel+%28right%29.+Yarborough+has+served+as+Whitman%27s+9th+grade+administrator+for+the+past+two+years.+Photo+courtesy+Phillip+Yarborough.

Assistant Principal Phillip Yarborough poses with sophomores Rafe Epstein (left) and Quentin Corpuel (right). Yarborough has served as Whitman's 9th grade administrator for the past two years. Photo courtesy Phillip Yarborough.

By Lily Freeman

Assistant Principal Phillip Yarborough will leave his position at Walt Whitman High School on July 1, according to Principal Robert Dodd. In an email to the Whitman community, Dodd announced that Gregory Miller, one of the current assistant principals at Winston Churchill High School, will fill Yarborough’s position.

Yarborough has served as Whitman’s 9th grade administrator for the past two years. In an interview with The Black & White, Yarborough confirmed that he will be taking a post as an assistant principal at Quince Orchard High School in the upcoming school year.

Yarborough primarily took the new job to gain administrative experience at a different school in Montgomery County, he said.

“For me, it was an opportunity to work in a different spot in MCPS that has more of a diverse population,” Yarborough said. “It’s valuable to have that experience not just in my career, but to have it within MCPS since that’s where I plan on being for a long time.”

Yarborough’s efforts at Quince Orchard, he said, will be centered around “equity more than anything else.” 

This year, Yarborough spearheaded the development of OneWhitman, a weekly homeroom-style class that works with students and staff to honor diversity and encourage unity.

“He’s a champion for all kids, but he’s led our efforts to focus on race and equity,” Dodd said. “He’s been a real leader in that area.”

Yarborough will take away a number of positive experiences from Whitman, he said, including building relationships with the student body.

“I don’t think it’s really hit me yet, because we’re still in distance learning and we’re not able to get into the buildings as of yet, but I’m going to miss Whitman,” Yarborough said. “There’s a lot of kids that I’ve connected with here at Whitman.”

While Dodd noted his disappointment about Yarborough’s departure, highlighting their “special connection,” he’s also expressed excitement in welcoming Miller to Whitman, especially since the incoming administrator has worked with Whitman students before.

Miller began his education career teaching at the Greentree Adolescent Program — a residential community in Bethesda that is home to a number of Whitman students— and frequently visited the school to help support his students. Miller was amazed by the compassion of Whitman’s students and staff, which made him all the more thrilled when he received the position of assistant principal, he said.

“It was really a feeling of excitement, even during these very challenging times, because my career kind of started indirectly with Whitman,” Miller said. “It was like, ‘wow, this is actually happening,’ and this is going to be a great chapter of my book of life.”

Miller was selected by a seven-member panel of Whitman faculty members. Dodd, who served as one of the panel members, said he and the other interviewees were looking for someone who really wanted to be at Whitman and had a significant interest in teaching and learning, and Miller fit the criteria perfectly.

“We were impressed with all four candidates,” Dodd said. “But [Miller] really exemplified those attributes which we were seeking.”

Although it may be strange to join Whitman’s staff without first meeting his colleagues in person, Miller is up for the challenge, he said.

My interactions with students at Whitman, even as an administrator at Churchill, have always been great,” Miller said. “It just is that full circle.”