John Russo named Park Avenue Elementary School acting principal


John Russo named Park Avenue Elementary School acting principal

September 25, 2019

John RussoJohn B. Russo has been named acting principal of Park Avenue Elementary School, following the resignation of Principal Sandra Wood, who has accepted a role elsewhere in Orange County.

Mrs. Wood has been Park Avenue’s principal since 2013 and has been with the district for well over a decade. 

“In addition to academic excellence, Mrs. Wood has always put the safety, emotional and social wellbeing of students as concurrent, critically important priorities,” said Superintendent Dr. David Leach. “She insisted on a climate and culture where students felt safe, known and engaged in meaningful learning. We are grateful for her commitment to our students, their families and Park Avenue’s faculty and staff. We wish her much success and professional fulfillment in her future endeavors.”

Mr. Russo first joined the Warwick Valley School District in 1974 as a middle school physical education teacher. Since that time, he served thousands of middle students as assistant principal for two years and as principal for 13 years.

In addition, for 15 years, Mr. Russo was the district’s director of human resources and safety. He retired in 2015.

Mr. Russo recently returned to the district. Since mid-September, he has been serving as the middle school’s interim associate principal as the recruitment process for a new associate principal continues. He also served as Sanfordville Elementary School’s acting principal this past summer.  

“Park Avenue Elementary School has an outstanding reputation for academic excellence,” Mr. Russo said. “I look forward to working with its faculty and staff, many of whom I hired during my human resources tenure. Their commitment to student success is unparalleled. Plus, it’s great to be in an environment where I can help play a role preparing our youngest students for middle school, high school and beyond. I want parents to know how committed I am to their children’s academic success and overall wellbeing.”   

A recruitment process for Park Avenue’s new principal will begin soon.

“We will look for input from all stakeholders —students, teachers and community members,” said Dr. Leach. “The finalist will exhibit the skills needed to engender and sustain the best environment for teaching and learning.”  

Dr. Leach said these leadership changes support the district’s mission of providing meaningful, engaging education in intellectually stimulating and collaborative environments, adding: “We appreciate the support of our parents, faculty and staff as we move ahead.”       


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