With just four months under his belt at the helm of Guilderland High School, Principal Michael Paolino is still putting in some long days and weekends working to adapt to the new and much larger -- environment. Paolino now heads up Guilderland High School as principal to nearly 2,000 students. It's a dramatic shift from his previous job as assistant principal to 450 students at Voorheesville High School.
I'm still acclimating myself to the education program and the different characteristics of the building," he said in a recent interview.
To students, he's already become a familiar face, walking the halls between classes and attending school events.
"I try to be as visible and accessible as possible to make the transition smooth," he said.
It's a tactic that appears to have worked, according to his co-workers.
"Outstanding," said Assistant Principal Brian McCann of the leadership transition. "He's a man with all the tools. He's very good at what he does."
Students, faculty and parents shouldn't expect drastic changes under Paolino's leadership.
He's taking a "wait and see" management approach, making certain he understands the culture at Guilderland first.
"Expect someone who is fair, who puts a lot of effort into the position," said Paolino. "I'm willing to listen and make decisions in the best interest of not only the students, but also the entire school."
Paolino, 35, hails from a long line of educators. His father, John, was an assistant superintendent for business at Albany City Schools, his mother, Sandra, works for BOCES and his brother, Shawn, is a principal in the Lansingburgh school district. His wife teaches kindergarten.
After a short stint working as an auditor, Paolino returned to school to obtain a master's degree in business administration at Union College. He spent more than three years working as a business teacher at Voorheesville High School before making the move to administration. Working as an administrator, he said, has allowed him to view education from a new perspective.
"You get to establish a holistic picture of how a school and school district works. You work not only with the faculty, but with the parents and community to adhere to a larger, more common goal."
The principal's position pays an annual salary of $110,000.""