l Principal Anna Falcone has been the subject of much public scrutiny lately, as a group of parents and former teachers I asked Falcone to respond to some of the issues at hand, and below are her responses in their entirety.
Patch: How do you feel about the recommendation to transfer Assistant Principal Wendy Carswell?
Falcone: As you can imagine, I have mixed emotions about Mrs. Carswell leaving Connerton. She was a great asset in laying the foundation at Connerton and will be missed greatly especially by the Connerton students who loved seeing her sing and cheer on the news to celebrate positive student behavior. I know that Mrs. Steinacker our new assistant principal will bring many strengths to our school.
Patch: What is your guiding philosophy as an educator?
Falcone: My family relocated here from Italy when I was two and I was fortunate and blessed to come across many caring and dedicated teachers who went above and beyond to help me acquire the English language and self confidence I needed to be a successful student and productive member of society. They left such a lasting impression that I quickly decided that I wanted to be an educator just like them. My philosophy on education is that every child can and will learn if they feel valued, respected and loved by their teachers. As educators we have the ability to be a powerful influence on every child if we take time to make them feel special, by showcasing their strengths, and allowing their talents to be shared. There are several factors of a child’s life that we have very little control over so it is imperative and crucial to spend every minute that we can focusing our efforts on what we do have control over such as basic needs, a viable rigorous education, skills to build a strong self image and the ability to collaborate and work with others. I believe that we as educators should be held to higher standards because we are shaping the minds of children with not only the curriculum we expose them to but also the actions and words we choose to use in their presence. Teaching is a very challenging career with many critics who are quick to point out flaws or mistakes. With that said, there is nothing more rewarding than seeing a classroom full of children who are engaged in learning, or children who run up to you so excited to share their new knowledge. Those moments are priceless and make dedicated educators realize that all of their efforts and long hours to try to make learning fun and exciting comes from passion for the profession and the sense of accomplishment when you make a difference in a child’s life.
Patch: Do you feel your management style is different from other principals? What is your response to being called a "bully" by those who are asking for your removal from Connerton?
Falcone: I am a very hard worker and have high expectations for myself and others. I tend to have a clear focus and vision and can be described as very passionate about my job. My belief about a school is that everyone needs to work together in order to make it a community that cares and helps each other. I rely on all of my employees to make Connerton the best place it can be. With that said, I use a team approach to develop teacher leaders and I establish many workgroups and committees related to curriculum, events and professional development. This can be seen throughout the summer when teachers volunteer to assist with preparations for the new school year. I am not a bully and have always had an open door policy for teachers, staff and parents.
Patch: When the dust settles on the controversy and the new school year begins, what do you hope comes out of all this?
Falcone: I am a very optimistic person and will continue to put all of my efforts into supporting the faculty and staff in an effort to do what is right for all of our Connerton students and families. Reflection and growth comes with every difficult life experience and I have no doubt that this experience will allow all of us an opportunity to think about our role in improving our school and making it the best place to learn and grow each and every day. I have started planning for the beginning of the year with this in mind and look forward to a positive year with our new assistant principal, faculty and staff members.
Editor's note: I look forward to sitting down with Mrs. Falcone in the near future for an in-depth interview. Look for that story in early July.
Let Patch save you time. Get great local stories like this delivered right to your inbox or smartphone every day with our free newsletter. Simple, fast sign-up here.