Students will notice a new face at South Side Middle School this year, and it won’t be in the classrooms. Michael Duggan has joined the administration as an assistant principal, replacing Rose Cammarata, who retired in July after 16 years in the position, and is excited to be a part of the Rockville Centre School District.
“The school district and the school are amazing and everyone has been so supportive,” Duggan said.
Before coming to Rockville Centre, Duggan was the assistant principal for the past four years at Bronxville High School in Westchester. Prior to that, he taught science for 10 years in New York City at both the high school and middle school levels.
Duggan grew up in Breezy Point, a neighborhood in Queens he describes as having a strong connection to Rockville Centre so working in the village feels like a natural fit. He attended Xaverian High School in Brooklyn before moving to Ohio during his sophomore year and went to Bowling Green State University before moving back to New York to intern at the New York Aquarium as a marine scientist. He spent one year living on St. Thomas as a marine biologist under the New York City Teaching Fellows program prior to becoming an educator.
While passionate about science, Duggan is also concerned about the social-emotional learning and growth in students and has the proper credentials and skills needed to be an effective assistant principal for middle school students, according to principal Shelagh McGinn.
“He’s terrific,” McGinn said. “He’s creative and innovative, but also well versed in the growth mindset. Also, he’s certified in restorative practices, mediation and social-emotional learning, which all tie in to behavior and teaching students coping skills.”
After experiencing his first sixth grade orientation at the middle school last week, Duggan was enthusiastic about his position and the new school year.
“The orientation went very well and it was so great to see the kids try to problem solve and immediately become friends,” said Duggan. “It’s been a great transition so far and I’m very happy to be here.”