By DANIEL OFFNER
With just a few short weeks of summer vacation remaining before the bell rings to signal the start of the 2013-2014 school year, incoming and returning Harrison High School students can expect to see some major changes including renovations made to the school cafeteria, a new physical education director, a new director of social studies, a new director of foreign language and ESL, and, most notably, a new high school principal.
Following the departure of Dr. James Ruck—who was initially hired as an interim principal back in 2006—officials with the Harrison Central School District have named Dr. Steven Siciliano, a former principal at Sagamore Middle School in the Sachem Central School District in Long Island, to take his place.
And this is not the first time Siciliano will be succeeding Dr. Ruck, after filling his shoes as Sagamore’s principal in 2002 when Ruck was named superintendent of the Sachem School District.
According to Brian Ladewig, the assistant superintendent of human resources, Siciliano was selected after a comprehensive search, which yielded more than 100 candidates for the position. After placing advertisements in The New York Times and a national publication for educators, district officials screened the resumes of applicants.
“We do a lot of work with administrative committees beforehand,” Ladewig said.
He added that, after whittling down the choices, the district chose two finalists to present before an ad hoc committee comprised of teachers, staff, parents and students.
“He is an outstanding fit for Harrison High School,” Ladewig said. “All of his past experiences and references convinced us that he’d be the best prepared for the roll.”
Prior to his nine-year tenure as Sagamore’s principal, Siciliano served two years as an assistant principal in the middle and high school levels and had previously been an educator of High School Social Studies in New York City and at Hicksville High School.
According to Siciliano, the past nine years in Sachem helped him build the necessary leadership skills of a school principal.
“I am consistently looking for ways to improve things,” Siciliano said. “I plan to work collaboratively with parents in the mission of the district…to create a nurturing atmosphere, where every kid knows they belong.”
Siciliano added that what most attracted him to take the job was the mission of the Harrison Central School District: “Every student can achieve at a high level.”
Taking on a different curriculum—namely the school’s International Baccalaureate program—he said that the students currently enrolled in the IB program have been showing promising results and that he hopes to deepen the curriculum’s presence in the building as well as in the community.
After first taking over the duties as principal on July 1, Siciliano has already started to acclimate himself in preparation of the new school year. “It reaffirms my decision,” Siciliano said after making his way around the school facilities, taking it upon himself to meet more and more staff and faculty members each day before school is back in session.