• Dear Hillside Community,

    It is with great enthusiasm and excitement that I write this letter of introduction as the new Assistant Principal of Hillside Elementary School. With over 9 years of experience in education, I firmly believe in a strong home-to-school connection. By working together, we can make sure every child’s academic, social, and emotional needs are met.

    Most recently, I served as the Assistant Principal of Myers Corners Elementary School in the Wappingers Central School District. In a school of approximately 800 students, ranging from kindergarten to sixth grade, my administrative responsibilities included facilitating RtI and FBA/BIP meetings, managing the school’s referral system, serving as the alternate Incident Commander for the school’s Safety Team, leading staff members through the development of school-wide PBIS initiatives, conducting observations of teachers, and coordinating professional development to help improve overall instruction in the classroom. Prior to Wappingers, I was a sixth grade Special Education teacher within District 4 of the New York City Department of Education. As a classroom teacher, I was considered a Model Teacher under the Department of Education’s Learning Partners Program. During my tenure in District 4, I collaborated with my co-teacher and other grade level staff members to develop standards-based curriculum, implemented current technologies to enhance learning opportunities, and created a classroom environment that supported the needs of all students. In addition to my classroom responsibilities, I also served as lead facilitator for the science department’s inquiry team, provided additional instruction during Homework Help and Saturday Academy, and coordinated our annual “Career Day”.

    As I begin my journey as the Assistant Principal at Hillside, I consider our three core values- respect, courage, and curiosity. With a strong background in Special Education, PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports), and STEAM, I am fully committed to supporting Hillside’s inclusive environment, while preparing our students for the global society that surrounds us each and every day.

    My education includes a Bachelor of Science in Childhood Education from SUNY New Paltz, a Master of Science in Special Education from Long Island University, and a Certificate of Advanced Study in both School Building Leadership and School District Leadership. I currently reside in Rockland County with my wife, Elizabeth, and our son, Luke.

    I look forward to meeting you all during the upcoming school year. If you have any questions, please feel free to stop in, call, or email me as the year progresses.

    Sincerely,

    John DeKams

    Assistant Principal