NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – Sonia Nunez, former assistant principal at New Rochelle’s Columbus Elementary School, was recently named the school’s new principal.
Nunez has begun in her new position after former principal Yigal Joseph retired at the end of the 2011-12 school year.
The New Rochelle Daily Voice asked Nunez some questions about her new post.
What do you hope to accomplish in your new role?
I am determined to continue to empower our student, teachers, parents and community with 21st-century skills. One of my core beliefs is that teaching and learning is fostered by creating optimum conditions to ensure success for students and their teachers. I have dedicated myself to developing these conditions such as effective use of data, timely and meaningful feedback through professional learning communities and purposeful resources.
A second core belief is the value of community and parent involvement because they set an example for their child that is powerful and positive. Governor Gray once said that, “No one is more important than parents in sending the signal that reading and education matter and that school work is not a form of drudgery but a ticket to a better life.” These are just a few examples of my philosophy in education that guides my conscience as I seek excellence, equity and fairness for all learners regardless of their backgrounds.
Do you plan to continue the legacy of Dr. Joseph or start a new? How so, and why?
I will continue with our constructivist approach as well as authentic problem-based learning. I will continue to apply the principles of leadership, through authentic collegiality, which has been a constant aspect of my own personal leadership style that drives my core beliefs.
How long is your position for?
I was an assistant principal for seven years. I will be a principal for years to come.
What changes do you want to make, do you feel the school is well on its way to success in the future?
We keep our roots and the solid foundation left by Dr. Joseph, but we have to face the challenges brought forth by APPR of Teacher/Principal effectiveness, student learning objectives, Common Core Standards and PARC Assessments. I am determined to build on the successes of Columbus School and continue to nurture and support high expectation of excellence for all.
Where did you work before? What is your background?
I started my career serving students as a foreign language educator for 10 years. I worked in the Albany Central School District, the Freeport Public Schools and finally the City School District of New Rochelle. Each of these school districts offered me multiple opportunities for professional and personal growth.
In the New Rochelle School District, my success as an educator and teacher-leader expanded my growth and administrative skills when I was offered the opportunity to serve as the coordinator of programs for English language learners, working closely with teachers and clinicians, scheduling students, implementing screening identification processes, curriculum and assessment and parent involvement activities. I also served as the coordinator of the grant funded 21st-century after-school program at Isaac Young Middle School.
My subsequent appointment as assistant principal for Columbus school allowed me to further expand my knowledge and skills in building management, professional development, curriculum and assessment and program development.
Why are you interested in the principal position at Columbus Elementary School?
Columbus has been guided toward excellence and the highest level of teaching and learning. We have had good results. Now we need to continue that journey and keep the highest level of expectations for our children and for ourselves.