Summer ended early at NYMA. Classes started on Aug. 28 so that cadets could get an extra week of instruction.
“We opened with 56 registrations,” Superintendent Jie Zhang reported at the end of the first day of school. “A few students have not arrived; a few are waiting for visas. Some students who applied for visas were rejected, but they’re trying again.”
Mrs. Zhang, a former New York City high school principal, talks to her boss, Vincent Mo, all the time. “He would like the school to be growing a little faster,” Mrs. Zhang admits. “But he thanks me for holding the ground for him so he’s free to do other things.”
Mr. Mo is the chairman of SouFun Holdings Ltd., the company that placed the winning bid for NYMA on Sept. 30, 2015. Since then the academy has made some progress — which Mrs. Zhang cheerfully detailed as we sat in her office.
The school has added an employee to the Admissions team so that it now has three full-time people and a part-timer. NYMA also hired a new commandant, Daniel Lorenzen, who used to teach at West Point.
“What happened to Sergeant Bailey?” we asked — referring to the gentleman who has been at NYMA for decades and is well known to the residents of Cornwall.
“He’s still here,” Mrs. Zhang assured us. “But until now Sergeant Bailey was one man doing two jobs.”
The school has introduced new Advanced Placement courses, and has concentrated on its infrastructure — repairing three roofs, replacing the gym floor, renovating the gym lobby, and improving a section of the tennis courts. The school has also installed more cameras to enhance security.
At this time last year, there was no senior class, although four students transferred into the school in time to graduate in June. This year, by contrast, the Class of 2018 has 15 members. It’s a positive sign, but it also means that the Admissions team will have 15 students to replace next summer.
In discussing the future, and total enrollment, Mrs. Zhang is optimistic but candid. “We’re looking for 100 students,” she said. “That’s our goal, but I’m not sure when we’ll get to it.”