Elwood Middle School students are kicking off the new 2017-18 school year with a new principal at the helm.
Christina Sapienza, the newest middle school principal met sixth- to eighth-graders for their first day Sept. 5. She was appointed to the position by Elwood’s board of education over the summer.
“We knew we needed to find a real all-star for the students of Elwood Middle School,” said Superintendent Kenneth Bossert in a statement. “Dr. Sapienza was a candidate who didn’t just want a job, she wanted a position in a district where she felt she could really be successful and make a difference. I am confident that she is the right person to do that here.”
Sapienza said she grew up in Huntington and went to St. Joseph’s College in North Patchogue. She received her doctorate degree in educational leadership from Concordia University in Chicago.
“I’ve always been very passionate about working with middle school-aged students,” she said. “It’s a unique time in their development where they need strong, trusting, loving adults in their lives that can help support them as they develop their sense of self.”
Sapienza has extensive experience as an educator and nearly a decade of administrative experience. In her career, she previously worked as a special education teacher in the Plainview-Old Bethpage Central School District and was an assistant principal for Oceanside schools in Nassau for six years. Sapienza is coming to Elwood from her most recent role as assistant principal at Commack Middle School for three years.
“What I recognized very quickly about the Elwood school district is it has a strong sense of community, which I am really excited to be a part of,” she said.
Over the course of the summer, Sapienza said she’s had the opportunity to meet Elwood’s teachers and staff in preparation for her new role. Middle school students and their families were invited to a special meet and greet with the new principal Aug. 24.
“The first thing I hear from everyone I meet is, ‘You are going to love it here,’” Sapienza said. “People could not be kinder or more supportive.”
As the new principal, Sapienza said one of her main goals is to get Elwood’s parents, teachers and staff immersed in learning more about the adolescent development of middle school-aged students and how that influences providing instruction and support to them.
This has been a focus of Sapienza’s career as a member of the national Association for Middle Level Education. She has traveled across the country for more than five years as a AMLE presenter teaching other educators about the best practices for teaching middle school-aged children given their stage of psychological and physiological development.
“I hope to bring my passion and passion for middle school learning to everyone who speaks to me,” Sapienza said. “I want to spend this year learning about the Elwood culture and community.”