A Middle Village school’s principal has been at PS/IS 49 for less than a week – but he is already landing rave reviews.
Students, teachers and staff at the school located at 63-60 80th St. welcomed Tom Carty in this week as its new leader, taking the place of Anthony Lombardi, who announced his retirement earlier this year. And even though it was only his first week, PS 49 PTA President Alicia Vaichunas said Carty has kept himself busy.
“I have already met with him several times and he seems to be a great guy,” she said. “He is adapting very quickly to our school.”
Vaichunas said Carty brought a different kind of leadership style when compared to his predecessor. Throughout his first week on the job, she said the new principal has been busy on his feet, making rounds to different classrooms and hitting the pavement at dismissal to meet with parents and kids.
“The kids love him,” she said. “It’s like we have a movie star in the school. He has been in and out of a lot of classrooms. In just a few short days, he has done a lot.”
Carty said he did not wish to be interviewed because he wants time to become acclimated with his new territory.
Dmytro Fedkowskyj, a former member of the city’s Panel for Education Policy and a Middle Village parent, said the change in leadership was good news for the school as long as it did not overshadow the need for a seamless transition.
“I’m certain that the change of leadership coming to PS/IS 49 will be implemented as seamless as possible but it’s important that the school community embrace such change so to ensure that the great programs already in place continue to serve their population,” he said.
Lombardi announced he would be stepping down after 17 years on the job in early December with his retirement effective March 3. His name was surrounded with a dose of controversy last year when a former teacher at the school filed a lawsuit accusing him of forcing her to resign after ignoring his sexual advances.
The former principal oversaw a period of growth and transition in Middle Village that included an expansion at the school and the addition of middle-school grades in 2009. He helped propel the school to the top-200 list of most improved schools and became emblematic of former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s aggressive campaign to reform teacher standards.
Vaichunas said parents were widely proud of the former head’s time at the school and looked forward to building on his years of success.
Lombardi could not be reached for comment.
Nonetheless, Vaichunas said Lombardi’s time at the helm of PS 49 was still a success, making the shift in power another progressive step for the Middle Village school. His door has been open all week, the PS 49 parent said, which has made Middle Village parents very receptive to their new principal’s leadership. It was a policy parents have become used to within the PS 49 community, Vaichunas said.
“I don’t think at any point we were ever in the wrong direction,” Vaichunas said. “We are very grateful for our new principal. You have a glove and you want it to fit. I think he fits this school well.”
By Phil Corso