Edward A. Reynolds West Side High School

When you create a healthy school, you’re teaching kids to care about themselves and other people, too. It’s about mutual support, which really strengthens the community.” 

- Jean McTavish, Principal



District: New York City Department of Education
Location: New York, New York
Enrollment: 531 students
Joined Healthy Schools Program: 2011


Last year, after accepting the National Healthy Schools Gold Award on behalf of West Side High School, Principal Jean McTavish was humbled by the attention her school received, including a visit to her Upper West Side campus from the First Lady. Jean had no plans of slowing down and even felt a renewed commitment to solidifying the school’s healthy changes as part of her staff and students’ daily routines. However, a breast cancer diagnosis in January caused the habitually energetic leader ‒ known to lead spin classes for students before school ‒ to pause. As she prepared for treatment, Jean was uplifted by the strong school community she’d helped to build and was grateful for the knowledge and practice of healthy habits she had championed as a wellness leader. They took the reins in sustaining the healthy changes she led her school to adopt. “My students are role models for me in their resilience and strength,” she said. “Watching them grow and learn to work through their challenges is what inspires me to do the same.”

Learn more about Jean’s success making West Side High School a healthier place.


Meet Jean

Jean McTavish has been the principal of Edward A. Reynolds West Side High School for 14 years. For the past several years, she has also served as an Alliance Ambassador, using her voice to shape the national discourse on childhood obesity on behalf of the Alliance.