Meet the Principal: Derek Racino
Sycolin Creek's new principal sits down with Patch
Derek Racino recently started the school year as the new principal of Sycolin Creek Elementary School in Leesburg.
Patch sat down with Racino to ask what brought him to town and what he's looking forward to this year.
Name: Derek Racino
School: Sycolin Creek Elementary School, Leesburg.
College: State University of New York at Cortland, Bachelors degree; Shenandoah University, Masters of Educational Administration.
Family: Grew up in upstate New York. Lives in Purcellville with wife Eryne, who is a guidance counselor at Belmont Station in Ashburn, and two young daughters Madison and Emily.
Previous work experience: Served as a special education teacher at Denti Elementary in Rome, N.Y.; a second and third grade teacher at Ball’s Bluff Elementary; and as assistant principal at Sterling Elementary.
What are you looking forward to about the first day of school?
I am looking forward to seeing all of our students being excited about the first day of school. The enthusiasm that they bring with them is something that we plan on encouraging and building on throughout the school year. I also look forward to seeing all of the teachers in their rooms educating the students and making them feel like a valued member of our school community.
Are there any changes you plan to make this year?
There are no significant changes that will be made this year. Sycolin Creek Elementary School has a tradition of excellence that we will continue and work to build on together as a school community. Through dedication, hard work, and participation from staff, parents, and students we can make this year, one to remember.
How did you become interested in working in education?
I have always had educators in my family and this has allowed me the privilege of being exposed to the tremendous impact that they have had on the lives of their students. My Grandmother was a Pre-1st teacher in New York; my Mother is currently an OT for Madison Oneida BOCES(NY); my Step-dad is a retired College Chem. Prof.
Watching and listening to the pride and joy that they shared with my brothers and me on a daily basis gave me a drive and determination to join the field of education and try to make a similar impact.
Every summer during my college years I would come home from school and work at a summer school near where I grew up in Upstate NY. The experiences that I was able to have with these students helped me to realize that my choice of education was the right one.
What do you think is most important for students to learn in their elementary school years?
I believe it is important to instill in each student a desire to learn and a dedication to improve every day. To do this, it is our responsibility to make each and every child feel valued and respected so he/she wants to reach their full potential. As a staff we will also be modeling the desire to be lifelong learners and a strong dedication to always be willing to adapt and evolve to meet the ever changing needs of our population.
What is something that would surprise people about you?
The fact that I am such a sports fan. Growing up in New York I am a huge Yankees and Buffalo Bills supporter. I have gotten my daughters to buy-in and support my teams; however, my wife is still holding out and supporting the Redskins!
How to you plan to get to know the students?
Over the summer I have been studying last year’s yearbook to begin to get to know the students. In collaboration with the PTA we hosted a Meet and Greet over the summer so families could come to the school and meet me prior to the year officially beginning. I also plan on being very visible throughout the school day and at the various school events. I am planning on making guest appearances on the morning show, being in classrooms, and the lunchroom.