LINDEN, NJ — Two vice principals in Linden Public Schools are taking up new roles this college yr. Frank Bandinelli, who had been a vice principal at Linden High School, is now vice principal at McManus Middle School, and Wayne Happel, who had been vice principal at McManus, is transferring to Linden High School.
Both stated that, though they’re unhappy to go away their longtime properties, they’re wanting ahead to forging connections with a new group of scholars and workers members.
“When I used to be advised I’d be coming to McManus, I used to be somewhat unhappy, as a result of I had been at the highschool for 22 years,” Bandinelli stated. “But then it didn’t take lengthy; I thought of it for somewhat bit and thought, what an exquisite alternative to work with a unique age group. I feel it’s going to be an excellent expertise for me.”
Happel stated McManus has at all times been like residence, however he’s wanting ahead to what’s forward.
“I turned an grownup at McManus. That’s why this transfer is unquestionably powerful at first,” he stated. “But I’m actually excited in regards to the challenges. I hope to have the ability to construct a relationship with the youngsters. It’s good that I have already got that relationship with about half the youngsters that I knew via McManus, however I hope to construct those self same relationships with the youngsters from Soehl or youngsters new to the district.”
Superintendent Marnie Hazelton stated she feels each will thrive in their new roles.
“Mr. Happel and Mr. Bandinelli convey a substantial amount of assorted expertise to their new positions,” she stated. “Their distinctive views from their earlier colleges will serve them properly as they assist ease college students’ transitions from center college to highschool. Mr. Bandinelli is aware of what center college college students will face as they transfer to highschool, and Mr. Happel is aware of what new excessive schoolers have been via in center college.
Happel at all times gravitated towards teaching and instructing, from the time he was a toddler in Edison.
“I used to be the oldest, so I really feel like, from a younger age, I used to be at all times instructing,” he stated. “So the instructing and training side comes form of naturally from simply at all times doing it. Whether it was organizing video games at my grandma’s home with the cousins or with youngsters in the neighborhood. It’s simply form of who I used to be.”
A trainer, coach and administrator, Happel says the highschool is a “totally different animal” from McManus Middle School, the place he spent elements of 17 years as a trainer or vice principal, however he’s wanting ahead to working intently with extra mature college students.
“I’m excited to see youngsters coming in from center college nonetheless with that immaturity and rising into younger women and men who’re going to turn into productive members of society,” Happel stated.
Happel will likely be working with the sophomore class; his fundamental objective is to verify they’re ready for commencement and life after commencement. A giant a part of that’s establishing relationships with college students, he stated.
“I would like youngsters to wish to discuss to me. I don’t wish to simply be that man you go see whenever you’re in bother,” he stated. “That’s the exhausting half in regards to the VP position. That’s form of what folks consider your job. Is that part of it? Yeah, however I wish to be greater than that and I would like the youngsters to know that. And lots of the youngsters from McManus do know that as a result of I do construct these relationships.”
Happel stated he’s grateful to have an administrative group of Principal Yelena Horre and three different VPs to assist his transition.
“It’s nice to work with a group,” he stated. “They’ve been nice in simply exhibiting me what to do, as a result of I’m somewhat misplaced up right here. So many youngsters, so many extra workers. And I do know it’s going to be a studying course of, however I’m actually fortunate to have them.”
Happel graduated from the University of Delaware with a historical past diploma and his path into schooling began as a paraprofessional at Linden’s Elementary School No. 4 in 2003. The following yr, he obtained a possibility to show historical past at McManus and jumped on the likelihood.
“I like historical past, so let’s do it,” he recalled.
He taught a variety of historical past courses over the following 12 years. “I noticed the entire gamut and liked every of them in their very own approach,” he stated.
While he was instructing, he additionally hung out as assistant coach for LHS baseball and ladies volleyball and says teaching and instructing are primarily the identical factor.
“When you’re teaching, you’re utilizing sports activities for these life classes, which isn’t any totally different than a social research trainer,” he stated. “Learning social research is nice, studying math is nice, you want that stuff. But it’s actually about life expertise, whether or not the conduit is social research or math or baseball. The time administration, the teamwork, the working towards a much bigger objective; these are the issues which might be going to make you extra profitable in life than simply, ‘Who was the second president of the United States?’”
Happel obtained a grasp’s diploma in particular schooling in 2011 and one in administration in 2014. He spent a yr as vice principal splitting time between Schools No. 1 and 4, then turned McManus vice principal in 2017.
But being an administrator wasn’t at all times on Happel’s radar. Then a dialog with Jennifer Smith, who was then vice principal at McManus, modified his thoughts.
“She stated, ‘You’re so nice with the youngsters, it is best to go into administration; you’d been nice at it,’” Happel stated. “And that one little factor she stated put me on this path…. I’m glad I listened to her.”
Bandinelli had been at Linden High School full-time for practically 20 years, however his change to McManus Middle School brings him again to a few of his earliest days in the district. Prior to turning into a trainer, Bandinelli labored instead trainer, in addition to in disaster intervention. Part of that point was spent at McManus.
“When I labored as a sub, I simply felt at residence and comfy working with the youngsters,” he stated. “I assumed it was nice. I didn’t wish to go away. I form of fell in love with the schooling career.”
Now, as vice principal, he feels he can as soon as once more have an excellent impression on center college college students in serving to them put together for his or her highschool years.
“It’s a unique perspective,” he stated. “With my expertise, I may help get them prepared for the highschool. I can provide them the chance to know what to anticipate in order to achieve success.”
So far, his transition to McManus has been “great,” Bandinelli stated.
“Everybody is tremendously supportive,” Bandinelli stated. “Everybody’s been welcoming. They assist me in any approach they will. (Principal Atiya) Perkins is great to work for.”
Bandinelli may also quickly be working with a dean of scholars. The dean of scholars, a new place on the Linden center colleges this yr, is supposed to work on pupil points, together with self-discipline, battle decision, social and emotional studying, and restorative practices. This ought to liberate the vice principal to spend extra time working with academics and college students in the classroom.
“I’m excited to get again in the classroom,” Bandinelli stated.
Bandinelli, who grew up in Linden, attended School No. 8 and McManus earlier than graduating from LHS in 1979. He went to Montclair State University for 2 years, the place he performed soccer, then went to work in building.
“I knew I needed to get my diploma,” he stated. “People I knew who had faculty levels have been afforded significantly better alternatives. That’s what motivated me to return to highschool.”
After getting his bachelor’s diploma in historical past and political science from Kean University, he turned a social research trainer at LHS in 2001. He taught largely ninth-grade world historical past earlier than getting his grasp’s diploma from St. Peter’s College and turning into vice principal in 2008.
“I at all times loved working with the youngsters and I nonetheless do,” he stated. “Sometimes, once I get in the classroom, I wish to chime in. It’s exhausting simply to sit down again.
“I’m most excited to fulfill all of the workers right here and largely the scholars,” he stated. “We’ve been out with COVID and I’m most enthusiastic about getting again with the youngsters for that in-person studying setting. I wish to attempt to get again to that ordinary routine. It’s so troublesome whenever you don’t have that routine and routine. That’s what youngsters want. They want that stable construction.
“We all work collectively as a group right here, in all of the Linden colleges, to learn our college students.”
Photos Courtesy of Gary Miller