Catching up with Joseph Porrazzo, RIASP's 2016 Assistant Principal of the Year
Each month, RIASP profiles a leader making a difference in his or her school community. This month, we connect with Joseph Porrazzo, principal of Ponaganset Middle School in the Foster-Glocester Regional School District. Joe is Rhode Island's 2016 Assistant Principal of the Year.
1. How long have you worked in education, and how long have you been a principal?
I have been working as an educator for close to 24 years, fifteen years as a Health teacher, three years as a House Leader at Woonsocket Middle School and I’m in my sixth as an Assistant Principal of Ponaganset Middle School.
2. What's your definition of excellence in school leadership?
My definition of excellence in school leadership consist of central office administrators, building administrators, professional staff and community members all having an emotional attachment to collaboratively working toward a common mission and vision.
3. What is the best advice you ever received in regards to school leadership?
The best advice I have received regarding school leadership came from Bridget Morisseau, Assistant Superintendent of Schools in Smithfield, RI. She advised me to lead through building respectful trusting relationships. Regardless of how difficult it may be, a positive relationship will help achieve the ultimate goal of doing what is best for children. I was observing her while she was the Principal of William Winsor Elementary and I was enrolled in the graduate program at Providence College.
4. Who do you consider your mentor or mentors? Describe the impact they had on you.
During my transition from the classroom, my mentors were the entire leadership team of the Woonsocket Middle School. Most prominently, they were the two house leaders I developed with professionally, Sandra Gasbarro and Jesse Butash. Emerging from the classroom together to become instructional leaders created a relationship where I thoroughly knew their professional standards and values. This knowledge gave me faith that their input on difficult decisions was coming from a mindset similar to mine under many circumstances and could be trusted. As an acting administrator my mentor would be Ms. Patricia Marcotte, Principal of Ponaganset Middle School. Ms. Marcotte has yet to make a decision that didn’t have middle level learners as her first priority. I admire and respect her leadership
5. What are the characteristics you look for when hiring a new teacher?An individual who is passionate about being a lifelong learner dedicated to student achievement.
6. What book would you recommend all principals read?
Good to Great by Jim Collins