‘A part of PV’
Assistant principal to retire after 22 years
May 19, 2019
After 22 years of working at Pascack Valley, Assistant Principal Debbie Squiccimarri is retiring at the end of this year. Christine Pollinger, the program coordinator of Park Academy, will become the interim assistant principal of PV for the 2019-2020 school year. Her approval will be decided at the Board of Education meeting on Monday, May 20.
“Mrs. Pollinger is a qualified, experienced educator who I believe is going to fit in very well into the assistant principalship of Pascack Valley,” Pascack Valley Regional High School District Superintendent Erik Gundersen said. “I am really sorry to see Mrs. Squiccimarri leave. We’ve been here for quite a long time together. She has done a phenomenal job in the front office and she’s been a big part of what makes PV great.”
Gundersen offered this one year position to internal candidates because many faculty members in the district are certified to be an administrator.
“It allows the administration next year to make changes based on certain circumstances,” Gundersen said. “It allows us to be a little more flexible.”
Squiccimarri said that she decided to retire because she is “ready for the next stage.”
“I want to leave while I’m still having fun and while I still love to do,” Squiccimarri said. “Also, while I’m still young enough to enjoy a good portion of my life traveling and doing other things.”
At PV, Squiccimarri was a physical education teacher for 10 years, coached softball and volleyball, and was the yearbook adviser before becoming an assistant principal when Barbara Sapienza, PV’s principal 12 years ago, passed away in the middle of the school year. Pascack Valley Principal Tom DeMaio, who was the assistant principal at the time, took over Sapienza’s position while Squiccimarri became an interim assistant principal.
“After being assistant principal for around five months, I had to re-interview,” Squiccimarri said. “The nerve-wracking part was that I had already done it for a couple of months.”
Since then, Squiccimarri has been an assistant principal of PV for 12 years.
“It’s nice to see when people grow here and get what Pascack Valley is about,” DeMaio said. “She’s very genuine, has a true care for Pascack Valley students, and has a real understanding for what the high school experience is all about. She’s tough when she needs to be tough, and the tough is not that she doesn’t care, it’s because she’s trying to get you to be a better you.”
Squiccimarri said she has no set task as an assistant principal because every day is different between student issues, parent involvement, scheduling, and observation.
“My favorite part is interacting with the kids,” Squiccimarri said. “When kids have problems, to me, it turns into a teachable moment. There’s a reason why kids misbehave or do something wrong. It’s important for me to support them to understand why there’s consequences for your actions and how to learn and grow. I love the support we give our kids and the relationship that the teachers have with them.”
Squiccimarri said that she has had her “hand in just about everything” from coaching, teaching, and being an administrator and is going to be visiting PV in the future.
“She’s going to be missed around here,” DeMaio said. “She’s a part of PV. She’s going to be hard to replace, especially when she has so much history here.”