For Luciana Bradley and Sara Goldberg, the new principal and assistant principal of Saddle Rock Elementary School, children are central to everything they do.
“We put children first here,” Bradley said in an interview. “That’s why we’re here: to make sure that they’re safe, that they’re learning, that they’re experiencing joy, and that they’re happy to come back the next day.”
Bradley and Goldberg are a new team at the head of Saddle Rock Elementary School, which is home to more than 560 students in the Great Neck Public Schools. Both come from positions as assistant principal and in teaching, albeit from different schools.
Prior to serving as assistant principal at Saddle Rock for 13 years, Bradley was an assistant principal in the South Huntington school district for a year and a fourth- and fifth-grade teacher at Signal Hill Elementary School in Dix Hills for 10 years.
Goldberg, meanwhile, served as the assistant principal at P.S. 161 in Queens for five years, was a staff developer and testing coordinator there for six years, and was also a fourth-grade teacher.
Among some of the initiatives Bradley and Goldberg will be taking on are completely implementing 21st-century skills in the classroom, giving more opportunities for collaboration and critical thinking, and moving forward with next generation science standards.
But just as important as the academics are emotional and social learning, Bradley and Goldberg said.
“That’s another part about Great Neck and Saddle Rock that really amazes me and makes me love that I’m here,” Goldberg said.
Bradley also highlighted a committee of teachers, parents and administrators who have come together to raise funds so they can pay for the expenses of students who fall below the poverty line in the school.
“We cover this because it is our intention to level the playing field for all of our kids,” Bradley said, “and if we can take away this burden perhaps we can make things better for our children at Saddle Rock.”
When moving into her office, Bradley said she put a lot of thought into everything that went into the room and where it would go.
One item is a large map with the Saddle Rock label on the lower left corner, with pushpins pressed into nearly all of the continents. Bradley said this is so members of the school community, be they staff or student, can share their “beautiful background” if they want to.
Another is a painting calling for children to “be a good global citizen,” which she said to her represents “the idea of knocking down borders and supporting children regardless” of their background and “making them care about the world beyond Great Neck.”
“It’s a big charge, but we’re prepared to do it,” Bradley said.
Goldberg said the artwork of her children, both in elementary school, dots her own office so it can make her “feel connected” to her children at home and make her office “feel like a place where children are welcome.”
Ultimately, both administrators said they are looking forward to continuing their service at Saddle Rock Elementary School.
“I think Sara [Goldberg] and I both feel incredibly honored to serve as the administrators at the Saddle Rock school,” Bradley said. “This school community is forward thinking, innovative, progressive, and more importantly, a place where children experience joy and a sense of belonging and they have fun every single day.”