New Year, New Principal


Image/Graphics by Keagan Dobo

The new high school principal, Mrs. O’Hare, smiling for a photo.

After 14 years, West Branch High School has a new principal. Mrs. Brandy O’Hare has stepped in as high school principal following Mr. Holenchik’s retirement in June. Mrs. O’Hare previously taught for 18 years, most of those years in the West Branch elementary school.

When interviewed, she said a goal for this school year is to “build a sense of community and to teach the students to respect others as well as themselves.” She also hopes for the community to act like a family. Among Mrs. O’Hare’s long-term goals, she strives for West Branch to have a 100% graduation rate. She also explains, “basically that every student has a career path leaving this building, so when you leave this building, we know there is a career path for you. Whether it’s military or trade school, or you’re going to the workforce, or you’re going to college.”

Mrs. O’Hare graduated from Philipsburg-Osceola High school, a community slightly larger than West Branch. When Mrs. O’Hare graduated high school, she entered Bucknell University intending to study biochemistry. However, in her first year, Mrs. O’Hare realized science was not for her and went the teaching route instead. Since graduating from Bucknell with her teaching degree, Mrs. O’Hare has been in various settings. She started in High School Learning Support before moving to the elementary classroom for several years. Mrs. O’Hare became elementary principal over the 2021-2022 school year, but when Mr. Holenchik announced his retirement after 14 years, she knew she was ready to take over the high school position. After a long time with the same high school principal, it will be nice having a fresh face in the halls.