Assistant Principal Christine Pollinger Is Transferring To Pascack Hills High School


Olivia Jackson

Assistant principal Christine Pollinger is transferring to Pascack Hills High School.

Christine Pollinger’s tenure as assistant principal of Pascack Valley has not been typical, as there have been many administrative changes, COVID, and more. 

“It’s kind of been a whirlwind because I [started] in September 2019, and [former PV Principal Tom] DeMaio retired in December [2019],” Pollinger said. “[Current PV Principal John] Puccio became the interim principal, and then we went into lockdown for COVID. Last year, we had [former PH Principal] Glenn deMarrais as our interim principal, and we were on the hybrid schedule.”

COVID-19 made it difficult for Pollinger to be able to meet and connect with students during her time here. Once the masks came off she was able to build connections with the students, and strengthen her connections with the faculty. However, she will be leaving the building following the end of the school year to be an assistant principal at Pascack Hills. 

“I’m excited to get to know another group of teachers and students for sure,” Pollinger said. “I’ll really have a broad understanding of the entire district [by working at PH].”

Pollinger will be filling PH Assistant Principal Charleen Schwartzman’s position. Schwartzman will be returning to teaching as a PV math teacher. 

“[Schwartzman] wanted to go back to the classroom,” Puccio said. “There was an opportunity at Pascack Valley, she missed math, she missed teaching her kids math, so she requested to transfer back to the classroom.”

Hills will also be adding a second assistant principal position. Following Schwartzman’s departure, there were two vacancies for the upcoming school year. 

Rather than having both of the assistant principals at Hills be new to the district, Pollinger and Thomas Gallione are splitting up. Gallione will remain at PV and Pollinger will transfer to PH, each working with a new assistant principal.

“[PH Principal Timothy] Wieland, looking at the situation, thought it’d be helpful to have an experienced system principal [at PH],” Puccio said. “[PV Assistant Principal Tom] Gallione [and Pollinger have] experienced three years [as an assistant principal].” 

To start the process of hiring new assistant principals, Puccio and Wieland went through all the applicants and separated them into two groups, one interviewing for Valley and one for Hills, rather than one big group, according to Puccio. There were then two committees of members of the school community that interviewed them and decided on a top candidate to recommend to Superintendent Daniel Fishbein.

“Each school will have their new assistant principals on the board [of education] agenda for June 6,” Puccio said. “[That’s when] we’ll decide who is taking the role at [Valley and Hills].”

Puccio said Pollinger has done a great job at PV and is happy for her to take on something new. Pollinger previously took on new roles in the district as she was the program coordinator for Park Academy prior to working at PV. Park Academy is a public school in River Vale that assists students in developing functioning and coping skills.

Throughout her time at Park Academy and PV, Pollinger has enjoyed getting to know the students and faculty. At PV, she got to know the River Vale and Hillsdale half of the district and is looking forward to getting to know the Woodcliff Lake and Montvale half.

“I only really knew this small group, the River Vale and Hillsdale, segment,” Pollinger said. “I [will] get to know now the Woodcliff Lake and Montvale group [at PH]. I’m getting excited about the challenges that it presents, working with Wieland, and a new adventure.”

Despite the excitement that comes with change, Pollinger is sad to leave PV.

“I’m really sad to leave all the friendships that I’ve made here with my colleagues and the relationships that I built with the students,” Pollinger said. “I’m also looking forward to making new friends. It’s bittersweet.”