Now in her second year as principal, Ms. Sandra Kaliszewski said her number one priority is to prepare students for high school and beyond and make students marketable.
“What makes our school different is our magnet theme of science, technology and communication.” Ms. K. said during a press conference with the staff of the MASH News. “Our teachers infuse the magnet themes into the curriculum. Every year we try to add more things that make us unique and special. My goal is to make sure everyone is ready for high school. High schools are very competitive.”
She gave us a hint about World Wildlife Week, saying we would adopt a wild animal. There will also be a school-wide vote about the animal.
Speaking of animals, Mauro-Sheridan has around 20 tanks of animals in classrooms all over the school. In the past, the animals were just pets, but Ms. K has big plans for them.
Ms. K. wants the students to use the animals all over the school not just for display but for learning about them and their habitats.
Hour of code and space week are two examples of science-based programs at Mauro-Sheridan.
In addition to science, MASH has many different classes that are not offered at other New Haven public schools. Ms. K. says all students should take advantage of all the different subjects and classes available at school, including Arabic, French, Latin and Spanish.
“When I first walked into the building it seemed like Disneyland,” she commented, noting the choice of extracurricular activities, including Shakespeare.
Ms. K doesn’t like all the graffiti around the school especially in the bathrooms and she wants to have every person in the school to treat it like a second home.
“Littering is my pet peeve,” she said. “If you see a piece of trash, pick it up. If one person starts picking up trash, others will follow. Treat your classmates like family.”
Ms. K. is not happy with the wifi and is working with the district to improve it. She’s also like to see
more after school programs consistently, but budget is an issue.
Ms. K’s Background -- Ms. K. used to play teacher and knew she wanted to be a teacher since age 3. She started by volunteering at Jackie Robinson Elementary School when she she was in college at Southern Connecticut State University. Her first job was as a third grade teacher at Prince Street School, which is now John C. Daniels. Next, she worked as a 5th and 6th grade math and science teacher then went on to become the math instructional coach.
Ms. K. was promoted to assistant principal at Clinton Avenue School and then became principal at Mauro-Sheridan during the 2014-2015 school year. Ms. K. is married and lives with her husband, two sons and a pet pug named Romeo.
Teachers' Thoughts -- MASH teachers have a lot to say about the principal.
“I like her positive attitude even when she’s under immense stress,” said Ms. Claudia Post, 5th grade. “She’s supportive of her teachers and provides immediate assistance when there’s an emergency. She’s also kind and respectful to the students.”
“I like how she is trying to bring the staff closer together,” said Ms. Amanda McLaughlin, 1st grade.
“She’s very understanding and tries to be there for everyone,” said Ms. Hill, Pre-K 4.
“She is a very friendly leader and is very interactive,” said Mr. Tim, an assistant in Pre-K 4. “She has the best interest of the students at heart and wants them to succeed,” said Ms. Ricci, a 6th grade teacher.
“She is very present and promotes education,” said Ms.Walker, a 8th grade teacher.
“I love how she tries to help all the teachers work together and build teamwork,” said Ms. Besemer, a 2nd grade teacher.
“She does a good job. She has a lot of energy and she seems very organized,” said Ms. Lavorgna, a Special Education teacher.
“I like Ms. K’s energy,” said Ms. Eva Landau, a 4th grade teacher.
“She is flexible when she makes her choices and she considers a lot of details,” said Madame Elena, a French teacher. I like that she’s out in the hallways and sees the situation for herself. She doesn’t go by what others say.”
“Everyone knows my mission and everyone is on board with that magnet direction,” Ms. K. said.
Finally, Ms. K. was asked: what is the most important thing about being principal?
“Having a relationship with all 543 students,” she said.