HUGHESTOWN — Gennaro Zangardi has gone through the Pittston Area School District as both a student and a teacher. Now, he’s serving as a principal.
Zangardi, 32, completed his first week as the new Pittston Area Intermediate Center principal, a position he was named to by the school board this past summer.
“It’s awesome,” he said of his new position. “Just going around and seeing the teachers and the way they interact with the students, the compassion and the love they show, it just gives you the chills and you can see the love just exuding out to the students.”
Zangardi replaced Dr. Coreen Milazzo who is now Director of College Readiness at the high school.
Currently residing in Exeter, Zangardi grew up in Pittston Township and graduated from Pittston Area High School in 2005.
He attended Wilkes University where he earned a degree in Special Education and Social Studies. Afterwards, he got his first teaching job at the Intermediate Center before moving to the high school where he spent the last eight years.
When the opening was available for the principal position at the Intermediate Center, Zangardi threw his name in the hat.
“I just want to have a bigger impact,” he said. “I’m very, very passionate in trying to mold young students and number one is just that impact; that’s just more fulfilling to me than anything. Being the principal and trying to be positive every day with these students, that’s what it’s about.”
Zangardi spent the last two months preparing for his new role by talking to other administrators like superintendent Kevin Booth, high school principal Dr. John Haas, middle school principal Patrick Bilbow, primary center principal Art Savokinas, and curriculum director Dr. Janet Donovan.
When the first day of the new school year rolled around, Zangardi admitted he didn’t get much sleep the night before because he felt like a little kid at Christmas.
“I was so excited to see the students and the first thing that came to my mind was that I wanted these students to have the best first day of school they’ve ever had,” he said. “I want them to come in and have that feeling that it’s going to be the best year they’ve ever had.”
When the second day of school rolled around, one would think the energy Zangardi felt on the first day would have relaxed a bit, but that wasn’t the case at all.
“Every day I’m excited to come to work,” he said. “I feel like I’m blessed and lucky to be down here working. I honestly wake up and I feel like I’m the luckiest man. I still feel like I have that same energy because it’s awesome.”
With one week of school down and a lot more to go, Zangardi is excited to continue on his new journey and work closely with the school staff.
“I can’t stress this enough and I know it’s my first week, but walking around and popping into classrooms and seeing the love, the care, the concern that these teachers and staff have for the kids, it gives you a pit in your stomach,” he said. “It’s an incredible feeling and an incredibly warm feeling.”
Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher