YORKTOWN, N.Y. – To say the St. Patrick’s School community has welcomed new principal Rebecca Steck with open arms would be an understatement.

The Ohio transplant currently lives 35 miles away in Saddle River, N.J., but families from Yorktown and the surrounding areas have made her feel right at home.

“These families have welcomed me into their homes,” Steck said. “If the weather was bad, they said I could stay the night.”

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Steck comes to St. Patrick’s School after teaching English in Catholic schools for eight years in Indiana and Ohio. She has a master’s degree from the University of Dayton and a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University. She most recently lived in Cincinnati before accepting the principal position in March.

Looking to spend more time with her sister, who lives in New Jersey and was recently the recipient of a liver transplant, Steck sought out leadership positions at Catholic schools in New York. Prior to joining St. Patrick’s School, which has 165 students in grades Pre-K to 8, she had never heard of Yorktown and was unfamiliar with the Hudson Valley.

But no matter where she has been, Steck said, the people are the same in that they want the best for their children.

“I am thoroughly impressed with the devotion of the staff and the parents,” Steck said. “The St. Patrick’s community is tight-knit. They’re proud of their school.”

Steck, whose educational philosophies mesh with those of the previous administration, said she plans to pick up where former principal Darlene Del Vecchio left off. Last year, St. Patrick’s unveiled its STREAM lab (science, technology, religion, engineering, arts and math), which includes MacBooks, collaborative TV monitors, a 3D printer, and more. All students also have their own tablets.

“I want them to be scholars but also good people with a deep relationship with Christ,” Steck said.

Through its many education programs, clubs and after-school activities, Steck said she is a believer in helping each student find their individual purpose.

“We want each child to find what they’re good at,” she said. “Your elementary school years are for figuring yourself out.”

Excited about the future, Steck said a new library and media center is opening in the next few weeks. She also boasted that the school has the highest math scores in the Northern Westchester/Putnam area.