Throughout October, Superintendent Dr. Marnie Hazelton sent out emails to all district staff to celebrate National Principals Month. Each email recognized a different one of our district’s school principals. She told a bit about their background and personal life, and added input from their staff about what makes them special. Many of the emails were followed by responses from staff members affirming the dedication and professionalism their principals demonstrate.

Here are those emails:

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October is National Principals Month and we are not going to let this month pass without acknowledging our principals!

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Today, we are shining the spotlight on Linden High School Principal Yelena Horre.  She has been a principal for 9 years. Ms. Horre previously served as principal on the elementary level and among many other accomplishments, she coached basketball. Fun fact – like me, Ms. Horre is deathly afraid of mice!

When asked about Ms. Horre her staff had this to say, “what makes Yelena special is the amazing leader she is and the way she interacts with staff and students. She can turn a bad situation into a non-event just by listening.  She is compassionate and adds a special touch to all she does.  She is known by us to be ‘extra’.”

Thank you, Ms. Horre, for giving such much of yourself to Linden Public Schools during the last 32 years.

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Today we celebrate Soehl Middle School Principal Isabella Scocozza. A gifted grant writer, Ms. Scocozza is in her second year as principal.

Ms. Scocozza’s staff describes her as generous, empathetic, and having a kind-hearted nature. She also LOVES a good tricky tray!

Thank you, Ms. Scocozza for your leadership.

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principal on stairway

Today we shine our spotlight on McManus Middle School Principal Atiya Perkins. Not only has Ms. Perkins been a principal for ten years, but she is also a Linden Public Schools alumna.

Her staff tells us that Ms. Perkins works diligently to ensure that her teachers are empowered to be leaders in the classroom. Resources and supplies are available, and opportunities for professional development are strongly encouraged.

In her spare time, Ms. Perkins owns and runs her own catering business.

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Today, help me celebrate Dona Preston, principal of School #1. Ms. Preston has been a school principal in LPS for 15 years. Her staff shared that Ms. Preston has a huge heart and puts everyone before herself, including animals. Ms. Preston also loves to visit the Amish Country with her family.

Thank you, Ms. Preston, for your continued leadership and service to Linden Public Schools.

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principal posing by a flower painting

Today we celebrate School #2 Principal Pete Fingerlin.

The staff at School #2 told us that Pete is very special to them.  “He is personable, patient, and understanding. Mr. Fingerlin has an open-door policy and is very hands-on.”

His staff also shared that Pete has an eclectic taste for music. From Beethoven to Hard Rock from Reggae to Old School Hip-Hop. His laugh is contagious; it lights up the building.

Thank you, Mr. Fingerlin, for being a source of positivity for your staff and students.

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principal sitting on a bench

Today we honor School #4 Principal Suzanne Olivero. In her second year as principal, Ms. Olivero is a beloved leader in her school community.

Ms. Olivero’s staff described her as a well-rounded professional. “Sue wears multiple hats as a leader of our school. With her open-door policy, she has demonstrated to not only faculty and staff of School #4 but also to the community that she is a warm, caring, selfless and sympathetic person with a great sense of humor. She also puts others before herself.”

Among her many talents, Sue has also flown a single-engine plane! Thank you, Ms. Olivero, for your genuine commitment to your school community.

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principal being interview for TV

Today we celebrate School #5 Principal Laura Scamardella. Ms. Scamardella has been a principal for four years and is the leader of a 2020 National Blue Ribbon School!

Her love and dedication to School #5 are evident in so many ways. “Dreams come alive at School #5!” This slogan is infectious because of Ms. Scamardella’s leadership. School #5 has been named an Exemplary High Performing School by the United States Department of Education. This is an honor that requires the dedication and commitment of the entire school community. As Ms. Scamardella as their principal, the students and teachers at School #5 will continue to soar.

Thank you, Ms. Scamardella for leading by example.

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principal with prizes for students

Today we celebrate School #6 Principal Bill Mastriano. Bill has been a principal in Linden for four years. School #6 thinks he is special for all the following reasons:

Bill M  Makes Us Feel Important

       A  Approachable

       S  Speaks From The Heart

       T  True Team Player

       R  Relatable

       I  Inspirational

       A Appreciative

       N Never Lets Us Down

       O One In A Million

Mr. Mastriano started in LPS as an aide, he is a Disney fanatic and is an 80’s music fan.  Bill is super competitive, he was on his high school swim team and he is also an ordained minister.

Thank you, Mr. Mastriano, for your commitment to your staff and students.

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principal being interview for TV

Today we shine our spotlight on School #8 Principal Michelle Rodriguez. She has been a dynamic principal for eight years.

Her staff shared that Michelle is driven, knowledgeable, and humorous. “Michelle is giving, compassionate, and a wonderful person.  She has a terrific rapport with her entire staff.”

Michelle is a loving and supportive mom, who serves as a community leader. Thank you for your unwavering leadership, Ms. Rodriquez.

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principal with two student musicians

During National Principals Month we are celebrating all of our extraordinary principals. In today’s spotlight, we salute Dr. Larry Plummer, principal of School #9.

Dr. Plummer has been a principal for a total of six years. Dr. Plummer may seem like a very serious man. However, he has a great sense of humor and uses that sense of humor to keep us laughing. Even when a staff member calls him Dr. Pepper by mistake, he just laughs, rolls his eyes, and walks away.

Dr. Plummer is a huge Giants fan! He enjoys watching a Giants game on Sunday afternoons with some Buffalo wings. And even when they lose, which they have been this year so far, he comes in Monday morning continuing to be their #1 fan.

Thank you, Dr. Plummer, for your dedication and for always providing levity during our Zoom meetings!

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principal dressed as George Washington

Today’s principal spotlight honors School #10 Principal David Walker. The following is a heartfelt sentiment from one of Mr. Walker’s colleagues.

Dave and I worked together for over 12 years. There are so many things which make him so special, but what really stands out to me is the way Dave truly cares for each and every member of his staff as well as all his students. He truly gets to know each and every one of us and each of his students as well as their families. His show of support, encouragement, and appreciation is always evident and more importantly, felt by all.

Dave not only teaches history to our students, but he will also dress up like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, or even ancient Egyptian Pharaohs. The kids absolutely love it when he arrives in their classroom all dressed up.   He definitely always thinks outside the box.

Thank you, Mr. Walker, for your compassionate and innovative leadership.