Stephen Noonan

Stephen M. Noonan

The New York City Department of Education

The Maxine Greene High School for Imaginative Inquiry


Stephen M. Noonan is the founding principal of The Maxine Greene High School for Imaginative Inquiry (MGHS), formerly the High School for Arts, Imagination and Inquiry, located at The Martin Luther King, Jr. Educational Campus in Manhattan.  The school was created in 2004 through a partnership between Maxine Greene, The New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) and Lincoln Center Education (LCE).  The school opened in September, 2005.  It is the mission of MGHS to provide a learning community in which deep engagement with works of art enhances the imaginative capacity leading to the intellectual rigor of all students.  This approach to inquiry based learning is rooted in the philosophy of Dr. Maxine Greene which fosters a sense of self-worth, curiosity and empathy.  MGHS empowers this diverse community to work towards a more just, humane and vibrant world.  In his role as principal, Mr. Noonan works to build strong, collaborative relationships with students and parents, while supporting a capable and diverse school faculty and staff.  His professional philosophy is driven by the belief that by providing an individualized learning environment with a curriculum that is engaging and inquiry-based, all students will embrace the habits of lifelong learning.  In 2009, the school joined the City University of New York (CUNY) School Support Organization.  In 2015, the school became part of the Affinity Schools superintendency.

Mr. Noonan’s previous instructional and administrative experience with the NYCDOE began at Samuel Gompers Vocational and Technical High School, Bronx, New York, where he was Teacher of the Year for 2001.  There he served as a special education teacher, teacher mentor and department chair.  In 2002, Mr. Noonan became an assistant principal for academic supervision.  In 2004, he joined the second cohort of the Aspiring Principals Program of the New York City Leadership Academy.  Prior to entering the field of education Mr. Noonan worked in New York in both the public and private sectors.

A former active member of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), Mr. Noonan has been a member of the Council of School Supervisors & Administrators (CSA) since 2003 and has served in several leadership roles at CSA including as a member of the Executive Board from 2003 to 2007 representing Region Nine, the Autonomy Zone and the Empowerment Schools.  He has served as one of the District Chairs for Manhattan High Schools since 2008.

A native of Saint Louis, Missouri, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies from Saint Louis University and holds Masters Degrees from Hunter College, CUNY, (MS, Urban Affairs), Fordham University, New York, New York (MA, Secondary Teaching), and Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, New York (MS, School Administration and Supervision).  He is currently a doctoral candidate in the Educational Leadership program at The Esteves School of Education, The Sage Colleges, Albany, New York.  This program began in 2013 as an innovative collaboration for practicing NYCDOE administrators and was created by CSA, The Center for Integrated Teacher Education (CITE) and The Sage Colleges.

In March, 2017, he was honored as “Irish Principal of the Year” by the Emerald Society of the New York City Department of Education.

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