Heights School Principal Regina Colardi will be retiring in June after working at the school for 32 years and Harbor Hill Assistant Principal Mary Wood has been appointed to assume her position.
After completing her final interview last Thursday night, the Roslyn Board of Education warmly applauded Wood.
“I’m ready for the challenge but also the joy that is going to be in my life by being principal at Heights,” a beaming Wood said.
Colardi, 62, has been principal at Heights School since 2003, a position she accepted after teaching kindergarten there.
Wood worked alongside her from 2008 to 2010 as a part-time assistant principal while she was also the chairwoman of the school district’s committee on preschool special education.
“She’s amazing,” Wood said. “I think everybody knows that she is someone who just truly understands children at all ages especially at that K-1 age. She’s an expert in that, and I was very fortunate to have worked with her for two years.”
Colardi, who lives in Mineola, said that after many years in education she is ready to move on.
“It’s just a matter of time,” she said. “I believe in passing the torch and bringing in new energy, and I think that’s fair to children.”
She was a classroom teacher at a private school in Bayside for eight years, bringing her total time in education to 40 years, she said. She loves Heights School because of the age of the students, who are in pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first grade, she said.
“Everyone should stay that age forever,” Colardi said. “They’re uninhibited, they’re honest. You come to work every day and you go home with a great story of something said by a child, totally innocent and totally without judgment.”
Throughout her time in the school district, she has seen it embrace new technology and place a strong emphasis on supporting student mental health, Colardi said.
In retirement, she said she plans to remain in the area and to relish the new free time she will have.
“It’s bittersweet,” Colardi said. “It really is.”
Wood said the same for leaving Harbor Hill for Heights. However, she said she is happy to be sticking in the Roslyn Union Free School District.
“I understand the importance of having a school right in the Roslyn community, and I hope to create a family feeling right in the building,” Wood said.
Prior to working in Roslyn, Wood was a special education teacher in Rockville Centre and in Northport before becoming the Northport School District’s chairwoman for special education.
The transition between Heights principals should be smooth, Colardi said, because she and Wood share similar philosophies on education, so Heights staff will be held to the same expectations.
“We always hire the best and we hire the best whether they came from outside the school district or whether they were with us in the school district,” Board of Education Vice President Clifford Saffron told Wood at last Thursday’s meeting. “I have to say it’s particularly gratifying to hire someone who’s been in the district as long as you have.”