Principal Scott Nozik wants local students, teachers, parents, and community members to know one thing: he is "committed to West Hill Elementary for the long-haul."
Nozik understands that some residents are wary of his intentions since he comes from outside the district and lacks roots in the area. Their concerns are magnified by the fact that the school's former administrator, , held the position for only one year before departing for Southington School District.
Nozik made the transition to West Hill from O'Connell Elementary School in East Hartford, where he served as principal for seven years.
"The shortest length of time I've ever spent as principal at any school is five years," he said, hoping to reassure West Hill parents and staff.
Nozik has wasted little time in starting to build community ties, joining the Wethersfield-Rocky Hill Rotary. He also maintains membership in the "UConn Board of Directors,” a university booster club.
The new principal says that two of his primary focuses will be continuing West Hill's sterling academic performance and increasing the use of technology in classroom learning.
"We now have Smart Boards in all 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade classrooms. And with the help of our wonderful PTO, we were able to purchase 30 iPads," he said.
The goal is to "integrate our technology into instruction, not just to have the technology for its own sake," he said.
Nozik is a former elementary teacher himself, having taught 5th grade for five years. He still keeps two turtles at home that were originally class pets from his first year of teaching.
Nozik still teaches, only now as an adjunct professor of graduate education classes at St. Joseph's College in West Hartford. However, the demands of his day job have reduced his course offerings.
"Oh, just one per semester. That's it," he said laughing.
When West Hill's principal is not at school, the self-described "huge sports fan," is probably watching a game. "Red Sox, Pats, Celtics, all of them. And UConn, of course."
Nozik, 41, is a former triathlete, although these days the sport he is most apt to participate in is golf. During his few moments of relaxation, he also enjoys other low-key activities, such as reading.
Nozik spent the majority of the two days prior to the start of school in sessions with his faculty that were as much "getting-to-know-me meetings" as anything else.
"I wanted them to know that I'm not going to come in here and change everything, especially what's been working." And he reiterated to them his commitment to West Hill.
"I'm not going anywhere," he declared.