Maybe it’s because she’s helped to raise three successful sons and a daughter.

Maybe it’s because of her counseling background, and connecting instantly with teenagers.

Or maybe, just maybe, it’s because it’s her alma mater.

Maybe it’s all of the above. One thing is clear. When you ask Heyam Alcodray about being Fordson’s new principal, her eyes light up and she flashes a smile.

“It’s wonderful,” she said just minutes after she was named principal of Fordson at the school board meeting December 14. “I’m looking forward to giving back.”

And so it begins, a new leader at Fordson, the district’s largest school. Ms. Alcodray replaces Youssef Mosallam, who helped increase graduation rates, decrease absences, and create a culture of college and career going students, seven to Ivy League schools in the past four years.


Make no mistake, this is change, and whenever you have change, students, staff, and parents tend to stress over uncertainty.   But if you talk with Mrs. Alcodray for a while, this much is certain: She cares.   Not about her new title, but about the children.

“My goal is that every kid comes to school with a purpose,” she said. “If students don’t have a purpose, they’re not motivated. If we can figure out what they want to do post secondary, then high school makes more sense to them. I want to make sure that whole idea is elevated and that we work with the students.”

The former McCollough-Unis principal has had a lot of practice working with students, first as counselor and assistant principal at Dearborn High, then as principal at the Henry Ford Early College.


“I have a lot of stories on how having a conversation with a student has turned them around,” said Mrs. Alcodray. “That’s one of my strengths.”

Good thing because Fordson has nearly 2,500 students. So connection is important, but not a novel concept at the school.

“That caring relationship is critical, and I hear that relationship does exist at Fordson, so I’m excited,” she said.

Already, she has a lot in common with her predecessor.

“I’m all about student success. Not only high school graduation, but what they’re doing after. I’m really looking at post secondary. We’re handing people a diploma. I want to make sure they have somewhere to go after that diploma. I want to make sure they have a pathway when they leave the high school.

“I want to see our kids have success,” continued Mrs. Alcodray. “I see our kids all the time outside high school, and some are lost. What can I do to make sure their path in life is successful.”

She met with some faculty at Fordson Tuesday, December 15, and will begin officially at Fordson sometime during the first two weeks of January.

New year. New principal. New faces. Old school. The Fordson graduate returns home to lead the Tractors. And home is a good place to be.

“I’m from this community,” said Mrs. Alcodray. “I’m looking forward to giving back.”

Photos by Adrian Ljaljevic, School Life