BRONXVILLE, N.Y. Thomas Wilson made a tradition of taking students by the hand and leading them to their parents' cars once school let out. After nine years as the Bronxville Elementary School principal, the tradition now ends as he steps into his new role as middle school principal.
Wilson said he would be happy in either job. While he is sad to be leaving behind the elementary school students, he looks forward to learning about Bronxville's middle school population.
"One of the things that I was most gratified by right away was the response from the middle school children," Wilson said. "They told me that they would hook me up and they would help me and they would make sure I was OK. When the kids are looking out for you, everything's going to be OK."
After 25 years in education, Wilson did much of his teaching with fifth- and sixth-grade students. He said that gives him an edge stepping into his new job as his natural tendency is toward dealing with older students.
"I connect with them well," he said. "I understand them very well. And it'll be interesting to have even deeper exposure to older students again."
Throughout his career, Wilson has encouraged his colleagues to grow, making his transition into a new job all the more understandable. It seems like an appropriate next step and time for a shift, he said.
"Middle school is an incredible challenge, but it is also a very misunderstood phase of development," he said. "I don't pretend to be an omniscient expert in all aspects of it, but I do think that we have a really good staff and we have a good base to build some needed and exciting changes."
As Wilson assumes his new role as middle school principal July 1, assistant elementary school principal Heidi Menzel will step into the role of interim elementary school principal. Fifth-grade teacher Adrienne Laitman will serve as interim elementary school assistant principal for the 2012-13 school year.
In past years, Wilson has taught in Scarsdale, New York City and Miami. He graduated from Hunter College , has master's degrees from Hunter College and Fordham University and acquired his doctorate from Columbia University's Teachers College .
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