Bayside school district ushers in new leaders

By Rich Bockmann

The auditorium at Nathaniel Hawthorne Middle School in Bayside was swinging last Thursday night, swept up in the excitement of familiar faces and fancy footwork.

Community District Council 26 bid a fond adieu to one of its beloved principals, introduced a few new administrators at its monthly meeting last week and treated those in attendance to performances by student ballroom dancers.

Friends and colleagues gathered and thanked retiring Principal Dena Poulos of PS 162, at 201-02 53rd Ave. in Bayside, for her tireless dedication and devotion to her students, teachers and the district.

Superintendent Anita Saunders, who ultimately approved the district’s newly appointed principal and three assistant principals, spoke highly of her choices, all of whom she seemed to regard as personal friends.

“I want the best for you, for your children and for the teachers in our district,” said Kathleen Driscoll, the newly appointed principal of PS 213, at 231-02 67th Ave. in Oakland Gardens.

Joseph Ferrara, known as the resident technology king of PS 41, at 214th Lane and 35th Avenue in Bayside, was lauded as the perfect choice for new vice principal for his abilities to interpret data, troubleshoot problems and develop curriculum.

“As for pure teaching experience, I couldn’t have had a better, more well-rounded experience. I am wholly dedicated to the success of PS 41 and CDC 26 as a whole,” Ferrara said.

Saunders said that when she hired Ferrara six years earlier, it did not hurt that his CD-ROM résumé included the Billy Joel song “New York State of Mind” playing in the background.

“I love Billy Joel, too. Come on down for an interview,” she recalled telling him.

Jason Chin, who had been a teacher at PS/IS 266, at 74-10 Commonwealth Blvd. in Bellerose, was recognized for his experience in the district and was honored as the newly appointed vice principal of PS/IS 178, at 189-10 Radnor Road in Fresh Meadows.

“I hired you for your genuine love of kids, and I can never teach you that,” said Saunders.

Melissa Gluszak, vice principal at PS 158, at 46-35 Oceania St. in Bayside, choked up a little when told about her connection with the district, having attended PS 133, at 248-05 86th Ave. in Bellerose, and MS 172, at 81-14 257th St. in Glen Oaks, as a child.

“This district is very close to my heart,” she said.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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