ARDSLEY, N.Y. Westchester native Melissa Szymanski, who grew up in Somers, recently became the new assistant principal at Concord Road Elementary School in Ardsley. Szymanski comes from the Chappaqua Central School District, where she taught at Roaring Brook Elementary School.
"I worked in Chappaqua for six years," Szymanski said. "When I was in Chappaqua I taught kindergarten and I taught first grade. I had a lot of opportunities there in terms of taking on some leadership as a teacher leader type of thing."
Szymanski said she always had teaching in her background, but she began her career on a different path.
"I actually began my journey in education as a dance teacher and I started out teaching dance in Greenwich, Connecticut," she said. "I taught for five years and I really started to become fascinated with how to move kids."
It was there that she said she began to realize that her passion was in elementary education. Szymanski went back to school at Bank Street College to get her first of two master's degrees. Her first master's degree was in early childhood and elementary education, while her second was in school building and district leadership.
"I was really, really feeling a very strong pull to the leadership work and it was really stemming from a desire to help teachers to help kids and almost to make my classroom bigger," she said. "I knew that while I wouldn't have frequent contact with the same group of children in a classroom on a daily basis, I really had the opportunity to reach far more children through partnership with teachers and families."
When asked what drove her to become an assistant principal, Szymanski was quick to respond.
"You have the unique opportunity to still be a teacher," she said. "I love that."
While she will be tasked with juggling multiple responsibilities, Szymanski said she couldn't be happier with her new position.
"Ardsley is a fabulous district and I threw my name in the ring and got very lucky," she said.
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