Dr. Phillips High School (DPHS) opened in 1987. Eugene Trochinski has been its principal for the second half of its history.
Under Trochinski’s leadership, DPHS achieved both academic and athletic success. In two of the last three years, DPHS was the top athletic program in Florida and also finished in the top ten for athlete GPA. DPHS houses Orange County’s arts magnet, the Center for International Studies, and sends many graduates to top colleges. Trochinski says, “I’m proud that last year DP students earned over $10 million in college scholarships, and over $100 million total during my time as principal.”
Trochinski gives credit for the scholarship performance to parent volunteers in the guidance office who help students find opportunities and complete applications. He believes in setting school goals and granting his staff a great deal of freedom about how best to achieve them. “My strong suit is hiring good people and letting them do their jobs,” Trochinski says.
He’s concerned about all of his students, not just high performers. This summer, he led an effort that identified 39 DPHS students who were a few credits or test scores short of meeting graduation requirements. He created teams to contact each student to make sure they understood how close they were to graduation and enroll them in an appropriate program. Each team provides mentorship and follows up to help the students achieve their goals.
Trochinski is also overseeing a $60.8 million renovation to bring the 27-year-old school up to code and create state-of-the-art facilities. Classrooms will have smart boards that can access the Internet and play video from multiple sources. The arts magnet will have modern studios, rehearsal, and performance facilities. As proud as he is of the new facilities, Trochinski says the key to success remains a dedicated staff and committed teachers. Fifteen of the 200 teachers are former students.
John Magrino, DPHS 11th and 12th grade dean, says that Trochinski’s leadership is the key to success. “I think what makes Gene an exceptional leader is he allows his staff to do the job they’re paid to do,” Magrino says. “He has very high expectations for students and teachers. He’s a great man.”
Trochinski plans to retire after this school year. He’s proud of his accomplishments but looks forward to having more time for golf. He says that all schools can be successful if the staff “keeps good attitude, takes care of the kids, and does what needs to be done for the right reasons.”