Editor’s Note: This is the first of a series highlighting each of the four new principals who were recently hired or promoted. One article will run a day in the series until Saturday.
Toni Schito said that the basic tenant of being an educator hasn’t changed simply because she’s accepted the mantle of leadership.
“As a teacher you’re always asking ‘what’s best for the child?’ On an administrative level, it’s just on a larger scale,” Schito said. “As an administrator, you really have to have your hands in everything. There’s so many endless things you can do to service kids. You have an opportunity to reach all of the kids in that school building.”
Schito is the new principal of Lafayette Elementary School. She is one of four new principals who started in their new capacity with the district this summer.
Schito grew up in Middletown. This isn’t the first time sitting in the big chair. She was vice principal of New Egypt High School for three years. She was principal of the district’s primary school for five years and its elementary school last year. She also taught high school English for four years and middle school language arts for two.
“I loved teaching. It was a hard decision to leave the classroom and it is a beautiful thing to have an effect on students, but as an administrator, you really have your hands in everything,” Schito said. “You have an opportunity to reach all of the kids in a school building.”
Elementary school principals are often the only administrator of their school. This may create the perception that they don’t have as many resources available to them as their middle and high school counterparts.
But Schito doesn’t see it that way.
“I have eight other elementary school colleagues who I can bounce things off of and do things with and that’s really great,” Schito said. “It’s a great thing to have eight other elementary educators to be able to do things with.”
Schito sees each child as an individual with specific needs that need be addressed everyday.
“It’s every child, every day, whatever it takes. If you follow that tenant, you can’t go wrong,” Schito said. “Every day you are faced with new challenges. Whatever a child needs I’m going to provide.”
Those needs could manifest themselves in a variety of ways. One day they might be academic. On another day a child may need increased social support. But it is all part of being a leader, Schito said.
“There are so many other aspects to education other than just the academic set piece,” Schito said.
Every day is an opportunity to help a child to learn and develop as an individual.
“The priority is making sure kids learn,” Schito said. “Kids need to develop self confidence and independence so that they become good citizens. You want to make sure that each child grows and achieves his or her personal best. At this age level it is very important to teach to the whole child.”