Manhasset welcomes 2 new principals for elementary schools

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Outgoing Munsey Park Elementary School Principal Jean Kendall, second from right, welcomes Richard Roder, incoming Shelter Rock Elementary School principal, and incoming Munsey Park principal Chad Altman, right, with Shelter Rock Principal Robert Geczik. (Photo by Amelia Camurati)

Both Manhasset elementary schools will be led by new faces beginning July 1.

Appointed Munsey Park Elementary School Principal Chad Altman, right, and his wife, Lauren, as well as appointed Shelter Rock Elementary School Principal Richard Roder, second from left, and his wife, Cortney, were honored at the Manhasset Board of Education meeting on April 17. (Photo by Amelia Camurati)

The Manhasset Board of Education unanimously approved on April 17 the appointment of two new elementary school principals: Chad Altman has been selected to lead Munsey Park Elementary School and Richard Roder will head Shelter Rock Elementary School.

Both incoming principals’ start dates were set for July 1.

Munsey Park Elementary School Principal Jean Kendall will be moving into the assistant superintendent of human resources position, and Shelter Rock Elementary School Principal Robert Geczik is retiring at the end of the school year.

“We’re looking for people who are going to make a commitment to our kids, our parents and to our faculty,” said Superintendent Vincent Butera, who was hired last year from Bayport-Blue Point school district. “We don’t want people to be superheroes on their own. This is a team effort with a lot of talented people, and together, there’s nothing we can’t accomplish.”

Altman, a Roslyn school district alumnus, lives in Glen Head with his wife, Lauren, and their two children, 8-year-old Madden and 4-year-old Jamie.

Altman said he earned three master’s degrees — one in public policy from Carnegie Mellon University, one from Baruch College in education administration and a third from Mercy College in elementary education.

In the past 15 years, Altman has worked in the New York City school system and has served as principal of P.S. 100 in the Bronx, which serves about 600 pre-kindergarten through fifth grade students.

As a Long Island native, Altman said he was ready to move his professional life closer to home.

“I never really had the itch to jump jobs,” Altman said. “I’m a stable career person, and I am happy at P.S. 100. There’s something wonderful about the Manhasset community, and when I saw this pop up, I thought this would be a dream community and a dream job.”

Altman said he was looking forward to immersing himself in the community, getting involved with the parents as well as the children and making education a fun experience for all students regardless of skill level or need.

“It’s one thing to have ethnic diversity, but it’s another to have children that don’t learn the same way as others,” Altman said. “I think what I love about Manhasset is they incorporate the arts a lot more, and there’s something special about music and visual arts that helps children branch out in different ways. The love of learning is important, and if we can tap into every student’s interest, there’s no limit to how we can succeed.”

Roder, of East Rockaway, is set to move to Shelter Rock Elementary School in July from his principal position at Queens United Middle School, which he founded in 2013.

Roder and his wife, Cortney, have two children — 6-year-old Maxwell and 1-and-a-half-year-old Cecilia.

Roder received his bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School before earning a master’s degree of science in teaching from Fordham University and an advanced diploma for educational leadership at LIU Post.

Though Roder has primarily worked with middle and high school students in his social studies and English classes, he said his experience with the older students will help prepare him for the path of elementary students.

“We have sixth-graders in our school, so I’m very familiar with the transition to middle school, and I think I could help with that,” Roder said.

Butera urged Altman and Roder to attend the district’s SCA Fair from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 5 at Munsey Park Elementary School to mingle with the community before officially taking over the schools in July.

“Last year, I was in your shoes,” Butera said. “This year, I’m selling hot dogs.”

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