Pine Plains welcomes interim principal
PINE PLAINS — Earlier this month, the Pine Plains Central School District welcomed Anthony Celenza as the new interim principal at Stissing Mountain Middle School. He is temporarily replacing Robert Hess, who is currently on administrative leave.Celenza grew up in New York City, but has enjoyed life in the Hudson Valley for 35 years.After beginning his teaching career in Westchester, Celenza joined the Arlington School District, where he worked for 16 years as a math teacher and 14 years as an administrator. During his time at Arlington, he also coached baseball, track and girls softball.He has also coached football at Marist College.“Coaching gives you a nice balance,” he said, noting that he enjoys working with students in different capacities.Celenza is no stranger to interim positions. He has previously held a three-year interim position in the Rhinebeck School District, a half-year interim position in the Roundout Valley School District and a three-month interim position in the Arlington School District.He explained that he enjoys interim positions because they give him a chance to work with many different students while meeting the fun challenge of assimilating into a new school culture.“In certain aspects, interims may be more difficult than the position when you are permanently assigned because you are still responsible for the success of the students, but you have to do it within the existing context and culture. It’s not the culture that the principal has had years to develop,” he said. “I think the biggest trait is that an interim principal has to be highly adaptable.”Although Celenza’s time at Stissing Mountain Middle School is for a currently undetermined length of time, he said that he still has goals for his stay.His first goal is to preserve the continuity of leadership of the teaching staff. His second goal is to maintain the focus on the success of the students.“That’s really what academic administration is all about,” he said.Success, he explained, includes academic success as well as physical and emotional success, especially in middle school, which is a transitional time for students.“I’ve been so impressed with the school. The people who work here really extended themselves to welcome me,” he said. “It’s a really nice group of youngsters too.”Superintendent Linda Kaumeyer said Celenza was chosen for the position because of his experience as both a middle school principal and an interim administrator. She also said that Celenza is very highly regarded in the other districts he has served.