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New Goretti principal looks forward to school year

June 18, 2000|By KERRI SACCHET

Christopher Siedor went into an interview at St. Maria Goretti High School hoping to be offered the job of vice principal. Instead, he will assume the duties of principal on July 1.

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He was offered the job after former Principal Anthony Durso resigned after completing the three years of his contract.

"I want the kids to come here and be thrilled to death," Siedor said as he jumped from his chair and did an impersonation of a student glad to arrive at the school.

A social studies teacher for seven years at St. John's at Prospect Hall in Frederick, Md., Siedor said he wants to offer both respect and a family atmosphere to Goretti students.

"I have a yearbook, and I am going to learn who the seniors are," Siedor said. "I can show respect if I take a personal interest. This is a family and we should know who the kids are."

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Siedor said he plans to form a board, with which he will discuss his goals for the school. He said it is important to learn from the experience of the staff and to take their considerations into account.

Siedor said one of his goals is to help students have a successful future by giving them a meaningful high school experience.

"I have no psychological guru to prove this, but I feel that between the ages of 14 and 18, kids take a big leap of life which determines who you are and who you will be," Siedor said.

Describing himself as being a bit overwhelmed but excited about the coming school year, Siedor said he wants to provide the school with a sense of leadership.

A veteran of the Vietnam War, Siedor retired from the U.S. Army with the rank of lieutenant colonel. He said the military experience helped him to develop the leadership skills he will bring to Goretti.

Siedor said he hopes to install that sense of leadership in seniors through a mentor program through which seniors would help, guide and befriend freshmen.

"That tells them that they have worth. The seniors buy into the program that makes them special," Siedor said.

Siedor said he will enforce the school's uniform policy.

"I'm a stickler when it comes to uniforms, but there is a way to do that with fun," Siedor said. "You can do it in a negative way or a fun way, and I've had students who haven't been hammered down who still got the message."

Siedor laughed as he noted that at age 52 he has both exuberance and maturity.

A former lacrosse and soccer coach at St. John's, Siedor said he will not coach at Goretti, but hopes eventually to teach a class, perhaps U.S. history.

He has learned what a difference a teacher can make in a student's life, he said.

"On a retreat I was at once, a student gave me the most important letter that said, 'Thank you very much for being my teacher. I wouldn't have gone to college if you hadn't given me the confidence.'"

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