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Q&A with Strong School's New Principal

Patch recently sat down with Middletown native Scott Sadinsky to talk about his new job and returning to the area he calls home.

He's not exactly the "new kid" in class, but on Thursday, September 1, Strong Middle School Principal Scott Sadinsky will welcome seventh and eight graders through the doors of the school for the first time.

Sadinsky, 42, was hired by Regional School District 13 this summer to replace Principal Scott Nicol, who left to take a job with Hartford Public Schools.

Sadinsky, who lives in West Hartford with his wife and two daughters, most recently worked as an assistant principal at Captain Nathan Hale Middle School in Coventry. He is a 1987 graduate of Middletown High School and holds three degrees from the University of Connecticut.

Patch was recently invited to the Principal's Office (luckily, we weren't in any kind of trouble) to ask the following 5 questions:

Coming to Strong is a homecoming of sorts for you?

I grew up on Arbutus Street in Middletown. My parent's house is less than a third of a mile from the Durham border. This morning as I was driving [to Strong] and I saw my dad walking out of Durham Market, he was on his way to work ... with a cup of coffee and a muffin in hand. 

My family had an independent pharmacy for 63 years up until about 12-13 years ago. There are people that live in Durham and Middlefield that were customers of my dad's store for years, right on South Main Street.

I'm already comfortable here, driving to work everyday is like I'm coming home, I'm just not talking a left to get to Arbutus Street. From the moment I applied for this job ... to this moment it has felt 100 percent right.

This is your first job as a principal, what challenges are you anticipating?

The first challenge is just getting up to speed, doing my due diligence to get to know the staff as well as I can and to get to understand the curriculum. I'm most excited for the kids to show up. That's why I'm here.

I have no plans to make any changes. Will changes happen? Absolutely. But I don't know what needs change until I see it. I'm meeting with teachers, I'm asking them what do they see for areas of growth and change, what do they see as areas of strength?

I was an assistant principal in two different locations, in Region 6 for two years and Coventry for four. I am the only administrator in the building which will be new because in those cases I had a principal.

What's exciting me the most and I knew this before I got here but I'm hearing it from the staff is how great the communication is here. How there's a tremendous amount of collaboration going on. It sounds like we have an outstanding and very involved set of parents, a very supportive town.

Describe the relationship you'll have with your students and parents? 

I'm very open, very collaborative. My objective is to be as visible as possible ... in the cafeteria, in classrooms, out on the ball fields, just being visible and being approachable.

As far as parents, I'm very open, very up front. I won't hesitate to pick up the phone. I welcome calls and welcome emails. I'll gladly sit down with parents. 

I'm a huge proponent of recognizing students and staff for the hard work that they do. I want to recognize the kids and really celebrate the good. The things that aren't where we want them to be, recognize what's going on, game plan, figure out a good and effective means by which we can get things where we want to.

I might be in the hallway 'high-fiving' kids or shaking hands, or asking 'Did you watch the game last night?', but when it comes down to it we have a huge responsibility here, providing an appropriate and effective education to each individual student. It's a massive task. 

Anything personal you'd like to share?

I'm a Yankees fan, so I like when the Red Sox do things that work out negatively for them. I love sports. I'm a UConn season ticket holder for football.

Give or take I've been to the Durham Fair 25-30 times.

And finally, if you were standing in the lunch line with your students, what would you order?

That's a tough question because I haven't been there yet, so I don't even know what's on the menu. I'm a fairly healthy guy, so I understand they make a pretty good panini here and they make some wraps.

I'm also hoping that pizza happens on occasion and it's good because I'm a sucker for a good slice of pizza. I'm even a sucker for even a bad slice of pizza, if it's pizza I like it.

I'd probably defer to the kids and say 'Hey, what's good here?' and I hope the kid who gives me the suggestion might let me sit with him and hang out and we can chat it up.

Strong School Principal Scott Sadinsky can be reached by email at ssadinsky@rsd13.org

Nunya Zness August 02, 2011 at 01:05 PM
Welcome Mr. Sadinsky. We have high hopes for you, and wish you the best. Please take good care of our children, and help them learn and grow. - Durham parent/taxpayer
Just my opinion August 02, 2011 at 01:58 PM
Welcome Scott sounds like a far cry from who just left. One can only hope . I can see much positive in the school. I agree recognition for students and staff is a big thing. good Luck.

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