This fall marks the start of a new chapter in the career of Samantha Alaimo. She was named the first associate principal for Emerson Middle School in Niles.
Q: Where are you from?
A. I grew up and still live in Edison Park (Chicago), IL with my husband.
Q: Why do you believe you were named associate principal?
A: I think a key component of this position will be building relationships with staff and administrators, but most importantly it will be about making connections with the students, their families, and the community of District 64. I deeply care about our students and hope to see them succeed academically, socially, and emotionally. I believe these habits align well to the District’s mission to inspire every child to discover, learn, achieve, and care.
Q: What steps have you taken to prepare yourself for your new position?
A: I can proudly say that I am still a student myself (a doctoral candidate at Concordia University), and developing my skills and continuing my own education is a passion of mine. As a middle school teacher for the past seven years—two at Emerson Middle School—I have worked alongside many staff members to implement curriculum and school-wide initiatives. I believe these relationships with staff and the community will allow me to smoothly transition into this new position.
Q: At what point did you realize you wanted to become a principal?
A: Since I was in middle school, I knew teaching would be my passion, but I do not think I was sure about educational leadership until I actually stepped in the classroom and understood the impact I have on our adolescents. Over the past seven years as I strengthened my teaching skills, I realized I was ready to take the next step to become a leader and assist others in honing their own practices.
Q: What has the classroom taught you about leadership?
A:Whether we are a teacher or an administrator, our first priority is the students. Our purpose is to make sure every child is receiving the best possible learning experience. I believe this new role will allow me to enhance many habits learned in the classroom—to be flexible, innovative, compassionate, and reflective.
Q: Do you often learn a lot working with students as much as they learn by working with you?
A: These young people have taught me how to be a better listener, offer empathy, and serve diverse learners. Working with students has taught me each child is unique and has individual needs that must be fulfilled. Middle school students, especially, have taught me how much adolescents have to offer our community. I hope to continue driving them to develop and prosper.
Q: What are you most looking forward to as a new school year begins?
A: The beginning of the year is always amazing because everyone is recharged, energized, and excited to get started. I look forward to welcoming our middle school students back to Emerson! I cannot wait to meet our new sixth-grade students and form more connections with our seventh- and eighth-grade students.