Mark Oppenheimer has been appointed as an assistant principal at Manhasset Secondary School.
He recently worked in the same capacity at Schreiber High School and Weber Middle School in Port Washington.
The new assistant principal established himself in the Columbus, Ohio, area as a high school band/instrumental music educator. He has also served as a middle school athletic director and assistant principal, and elementary school principal.
He said he looked forward to working in much closer quarters in the community.
“I think what separates Manhasset is it’s a small town feel versus a suburban feel,” he said. “That’s what drew me in because you get to really know the community and the kids a lot faster than you do when you’re in a much larger district.”
Before moving to New York and working with local school districts, Oppenheimer’s experience with the area came when he worked for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. For three years, he both taught and managed a nationwide All-Star Marching Band.
Each stop of his career formed his approach and leadership style, he said.
“What I want to do is get in there and meet the families, learn as much as I can about the community and the kids,” he said. “It’s not necessarily making changes, maybe putting your own spin on something, tweaking some things here and there, but I’m a very collaborative leader.”
Manhasset Secondary School’s first day of class is Thursday, Sept. 2. With a student body that is vocal about concerns, Oppenheimer said, he sees managing differing opinions between the school board and students as a chance to communicate effectively.
“It’s important to be empowering students and working with them all the time, to give them the belief in the choice to speak, but also how to help them navigate that,” he said. “People in general are going to voice an opinion all the time, it’s not a bad thing, it’s just how you react to it. Even if sometimes you have to agree to disagree and that’s OK.”
Part of Oppenheimer’s responsibilities will include discipline, attendance, and being in charge of security and safety compliance.