WEST ORANGE, NJ –Julie DiGiacomo, the newly-appointed Mt. Pleasant Elementary School Principal said she was excited for school to begin this year. The long-time educator said she was overwhelmed by the welcome she has received and is looking forward to her first year at Mt. Pleasant.
“It was the best welcome I’ve ever gotten in my life,” DiGiacomo said of her visit to participate in the farewell video for retiring Principal Mike Schiavo. “I received cards and letters; there was a welcoming banner…I even got brownies.”
DiGiacomo brings a wide range of educational experience to the school. She received her Bachelor’s from Glassboro College (now Rowan University) in Preschool-Eighth Grade Education and her Master’s from Montclair State University in Educational Psychology and Reading, with a second Master’s from MSU in Educational and Leadership Administration.
Most recently, DiGiacomo was the Principal for Laning Avenue School in Verona (grades K-4), completing the school year before beginning her new position as Principal at Mt. Pleasant in July. She held that position for three years.
DiGiacomo began her teaching career in Livingston as a third and fourth grade teacher, where she spent 14 years. She also spent a few years in Livingston as a Reading Specialist and served as Literacy Coach for Livingston Elementary and Middle Schools.
In the Tenafly School District, DiGiacomo was K-12 Curriculum Specialist and in charge of Staff Development, also supervising the Robotics and Gifted and Talented Programs. This provided an opportunity for DiGiacomo to serve as a liaison for the Columbia University Reading and Writing Project in conjunction with Lincoln Center. She is also a Certified Reading and Media Specialist.
As Assistant Principal at Cresskill Middle School, DiGiacomo was also in charge of district curriculum, K-12 English Language Arts (ELA), Testing Coordinator, Advanced Placement and World Languages.
DiGiacomo said she is enthusiastic about the West Orange School District’s new data-driven system for teachers, OnCourse systems for Education, “a full-service provider of web-based tools that automate and streamline educational processes for public and private schools,” according to their website. In addition to OnCourse, DiGiacomo is working to create reading spaces in each classroom as part of the district’s Reading and Writing initiative.
“Mt. Pleasant will also be hosting Reading and Writing Workshops for our teachers by grade,” said DiGiacomo. “I will teach an actual lesson and demonstration with a reading specialist and then we’ll debrief and discuss it.”
The school houses not only K-5 general education classes, but two autistic classes (K-2 and 3-5). Some special needs students are integrated into the general education population and some students continue to receive specialized help.
“I’m so happy to be at Mt. Pleasant,” said DiGiacomo with a smile. “The atmosphere is so warm and welcoming, and there is such a sense of community.”
DiGiacomo, who lives in Roseland with her husband Michael, son Michael, 15, and daughter Ava, 12, held a “Coffee Meet and Greet” on the first day of school to meet parents.