SOMERS, N.Y. - Assistant principals do so much more nowadays than overseeing the day-to-day operations of their schools or dealing with unruly students.
They are also expected to be multi-taskers and instructional leaders, the folks who help teachers teach and students learn, education experts say.
Linda Belger, a longtime teacher and instructional coach, is onboard to join the administrative team at Somers Intermediate School this summer.
Belger was appointed at the Board of Education meeting May 14 and will replace current Assistant Principal Elizabeth Turner.
Turner is taking over the top spot after SIS Principal Stacey Elconin, who will become the district’s new director of special services.
The current director, Annamarie Maggio, is retiring.
Elconin praised Belger for her dedication and an instructional leadership style that is “very student centered.”
It will be a smooth transition because, Elconin said, Belger already works with groups of teachers and individual classes using “student data and performance results” to improve instruction.
Belger has also run professional learning opportunities for SIS administrators and has been the school’s English Language Arts coordinator.
“This is a great choice for SIS,” Elconin said.
Turner also had good things to say.
“I am so excited to partner with Ms. Belger in leading SIS. Linda has been such a great resource to our teachers, students, and families. It makes total sense for her to serve in this leadership role and extend her skills and support even further in our district.”
Belger, a Peekskill resident, has been with the Somers school district for 17 years, starting as a permanent sub and eventually teaching third and fourth grades.
Before coming to Somers, Belger taught in Yonkers, her hometown, and in White Plains.
Belger got her undergraduate degree at Pace University and earned a master’s in teaching at Fordham University. She just wrapped up her second master’s, in instructional leadership, at the College of St. Rose in Albany.
Being a learning coach has helped her look at the district through a wider lens, Belger said.
While she has always loved the kids in her classes, Belger has been interested in working with, and positively affecting, more children since her tenure in Yonkers. But, back then, it “wasn’t the place or time,” she said.
Along the way, she took a career pause to raise two athletically gifted sons, one of whom is now in college. The younger son is now in high school.
“I was a hockey mom, actually a hockey and lacrosse mom,” Belger said Friday.
Belger said she is looking forward to having an expanded role as an educational influencer.
“I believe that all children can learn and that it’s our job to find the right way to teach every child,” Belger said. School should be a place, she added, where students “feel safe, where they want to come and where learning is fun.”
Belger’s probationary term will run from July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2023.
She will be paid an annual salary of $136,500.
She resigned her position as SIS teacher/learning coach, effective June 30, contingent upon her appointment being approved by the school board.