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Q&A: Ogden Elementary's New Principal

Current district administrator steps into role starting in July.

Dina Anzalone, Hewlett-Woodmere Public Schools’ director of curriculum and assessment, will take over as principal of starting on July 1.

Anzalone, who has served in her current position since 2007, will succeed Joan Birringer-Haig, who is retiring. Patch recently spoke with Anzalone about her new role.

Why was the Ogden principal position appealing to you?

The position was most appealing because of the thought of remaining in such a wonderful, caring community where the 4As are highlighted: Academics, Arts, Athletics, Activities. Students in this district are afforded wonderful opportunities for equity and are treated with kindness and respect.

Have you always aspired to be a principal? Did you think your career trajectory would take you there?

When I began my career in education 17 years ago, I never imagined I would leave the classroom; however, my experience in central office has allowed me to gain valuable insights and knowledge that will assist me in making the best decisions possible for the entire Ogden Elementary School family. My five years in central office has been fulfilling, challenging, and filled with learning, but the one thing I missed was being part of a school community filled with students on a daily basis.

Are you excited to be working directly with students?

YES! I don’t know that there’s much more to this answer. The thought of being surrounded by students each and every day is invigorating to me and I thoroughly look forward to getting to know each student, family, and staff member at Ogden Elementary School.

How has your current position prepared you for your new one?

I believe that my vast experience in education spanning the past 17-years has prepared me well for a principal-ship. I was a classroom teacher in NYC and literacy staff developer for six years; a kindergarten teacher in Oceanside until the superintendent asked me to be the K-6 Literacy Lead Teacher and then social studies; and now my experience in central office looking at the big picture of P-12 and beyond as a system.

I have had broad experience in working with administrators and staff at all five buildings. My unique perspective of the “big picture” will allow me to bring a new level of excellence to the position of principal.

What are your challenges heading into this position?

I believe there are more similarities than differences. My biggest obstacle will be the same as any professional starting a new position — a learning curve.

What are your long-term goals for the school?

I hope to create a collaborative atmosphere where teachers open up their classrooms to one another and we develop an exemplary professional learning community. All the research shows that when teachers learn from each other and the leader of the building harnesses the collective strengths of each staff member, students benefit greatly.

I envision a collaborative environment where all stakeholders have a vested interest in the outcomes for students. I also aspire to establish a school culture where all students and staff members can teach and learn in a caring and safe environment.

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