By Joseph Wolkin
A new administrator will be walking the halls of Commack High School next week.
Michael Larson was appointed assistant principal of Commack High School this week, after working at the school since 2007.
Larson said he has been set on being an educator since he graduated high school.
Growing up, Larson wasn’t sure what he wanted to do in life. Over time, his love for American history developed into a greater passion for social studies, and eventually it led to him wanting to share his knowledge with others.
Working through the rankings at Commack High School since 2007, Larson went from serving as a secondary social studies teacher, to teaching history, economics and government to being named the school’s newest assistant principal.
Effective Aug. 15, Larson took over the position previously held by Commack High School’s newest principal, Leslie Boritz.
“I’m honored and humbled and honored to serve Commack in this capacity,” Larson said. “One of the things I’ve learned about working in this district for the past few years is that the leaders work very closely together.”
Last year, Larson was promoted to coordinator of student affairs, a position he says helped develop his friendship with Boritz. The job consisted of overseeing discipline and attendance, working with students who have conduct or attendance issues, along with any potential problems with student life at the high school.
“His experience working one-on-one as both a class and student council advisor and as coordinator of student affairs and attendance has provided insight into the culture and views of our children at the high school.”
No longer in the classroom when he was given the new role, Larson admittedly missed developing relationships with kids, which he worked with for 180 days out of the year. However, he said he was able to find a way to still connect with Commack students, even if he was no longer in the classroom with them.
“Having those experiences last year really helped advance my development as an administrator,” Larson said. “The fact that I’m now working as an assistant principal with some of the people who played an instrumental role in my development is truly a blessing.”
The Stony Brook native attended Stony Brook University for his undergraduate degree in 2004, and received a graduate degree from Plymouth State University in special education in 2006.
Superintendent Donald James said Larson will do great things for Commack.
“Michael is a dynamic educator, who is compassionate and committed to our students,” he said in an email. “His experience working one-on-one as both a class and student council advisor and as coordinator of student affairs and attendance has provided insight into the culture and views of our children at the high school. Michael’s commitment to the students, their parents and his fellow staff members is evident in his many accomplishments at Commack High.”
The decision to make Larson the school’s newest assistant principal, along with naming Boritz as the principal, was part of a ripple effect caused by the retirement news of Commack’s last principal, Catherine Nolan.
In June, Boritz was named as the school’s new principal, replacing Nolan, who retired after holding the position for the last five years. She was the assistant principal at the school since July 2011, in addition to serving as the assistant principal of Commack Middle School for 11 years.
According to U.S. News and World Report, Commack High School is ranked as the 87th best high school in New York out of over 1,200 listed.
Larson lives in Stony Brook and will continue making the approximately 20-minute commute daily to the school that has given him the opportunity to advance in the education world. For that, he said he is indeed thankful.
“The priority for me this year is the continuation of the excellence that has come to represent the Commack School District,” he said. “I want to make efforts to continue an excellent program that’s great in athletics, academics, extracurricular and co-curricular, and expand on the opportunities we’re presenting our students and enhance them as we move forward.”