Vitale prepares for role at Pleasant Valley
Dr. Margaret Vitale talks to kindergartners Logan Smarro and Charlielynne Santini at Chipperfield Elementary School in Stroudsburg. They are in Rebecca Keller’s class. KRISTINE PORTER/TIMES NEWS
Pleasant Valley School District is getting a second assistant to the superintendent of operations, and she is excited to get started.
“I’m excited to define the role and to get in there and really support Pleasant Valley and the services that they offer,” said Dr. Margaret Vitale.
The position is new to the school district, although it incorporates responsibilities held in past positions. Vitale’s first day is Dec. 11.
Vitale said her foundation is as “a solutions-based person that looks at problems and looks to solve them.”
In fact, her dissertation for her doctoral degree was on collaborative leadership and the social context necessary for collaborative leadership.
“I think getting everybody’s perception and vantage point is super important, down to the students,” she said. “Understanding everybody’s needs and concerns in a situation is really helpful, and although you might not use everyone’s ideas, they all come together to make the solution happen.”
In the weeks leading up to beginning her new job full-time, Vitale has been meeting with heads of departments and other staff to learn about all that is working and the things that she can help improve.
The biggest challenge she said she sees in her new job is building a rapport with co-workers as well as the students, parents, school board and the community, and “building a relationship of trust,” she said.
“They can trust that I’m going to do what I say I’m going to do, and that I’m going to have a positive change, and then gaining respect,” Vitale said. “I would say that’s not Pleasant Valley specific. I would say that’s specific to any new position that you’re involved with.”
The position at Pleasant Valley is a career goal.
“I have always wanted to be able to make change on a greater level,” she said.
“In the classroom, you impact the 25 students that you have. In this building, you impact the 903 students that you have. Now, I will have an impact on over 4,000 students.”
“I believe that I will have a positive impact on processes that really directly support students. It is super important to support students,” she said. “I think being a change agent on a larger level is what really excited me and also joining the Pleasant Valley community.”
Vitale grew up in Stroudsburg and earned her bachelor’s degree from East Stroudsburg University. She has taught in the area and worked in the area, most recently as the principal of Chipperfield Elementary School in Stroudsburg for the past seven years.
She went on to earn a master’s degree and then a doctorate at Drexel University, while working full time. She made her home with her husband in the Pleasant Valley School District several years ago.
She said she loves being in education and will miss seeing the faces of the children every day at Chipperfield.
“Being in this building, you get to see students from kindergarten through fourth grade grow, mature, develop,” she said. “I will not have that direct contact, that day to day interaction with the same students, so I think that is what I will miss the most.”
Teachers put all of their energy into the students to make sure that they grow academically and develop a healthy a social and emotional life.
“When they prosper, you know you’ve done your job,” she said. “I think that’s the most exciting part of education.”