A New Leader for Rye High School
By Peter Jovanovich
“As a tenth grader, I discovered my love of teaching when I volunteered to teach CCD at the local parish in Hempstead, Long Island,” shared Dr. Derek Schuelein, who will assume the position of principal at Rye High School July 1, replacing Patty Taylor, who is retiring after a long career. “I went to college at Penn State expecting to become an historian, but the education majors I met reminded me that I loved teaching. The rest is history.”
And what a history. Dr. Schuelein began his career teaching 11th– and 12th-grade history, at Jane Addams High School in the South Bronx. One might expect the worst for a high school in the same neighborhood as the infamous “Ft. Apache” police station, but he said he was “pleasantly surprised to work in an orderly, safe environment where the emphasis was on drawing out the potential of every student there. It was a fun place where I enjoyed teaching.”
During his nine years at Jane Addams, six years teaching and the last three as Assistant Principal, Schuelein learned the value of strong leadership. “I saw what an effective leader could accomplish. My principal was focused, caring, and bright – and she suffered little nonsense.
After three years as Assistant Principal at Lindenhurst High School, Schuelein assumed the post of Assistant Principal at Blind Brook High, eventually becoming Principal in 2018. Along the way, he acquired an M.A. in Social Studies from Lehman College, a Certificate of Advance Study in Educational Leadership from SUNY New Paltz, and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Manhattanville College.
Dr. Schuelein’s philosophy of education is pretty straightforward. “Teaching has changed a lot since I was last in the classroom, but the fundamentals have not. Good instruction begins with the end in mind. Then you work backward to ensure that the curriculum and methods, good lesson planning and assessment help students and teachers reach that goal.” And he doesn’t have much time for the jargon or lingo that seem to plague modern education. “Certainly, I have strong convictions about what makes great schools. Unfortunately, we in education repeatedly come up with new buzzwords to describe what remain the basics of good teaching.”
Dr. Schuelein believes that his first year at Rye High will be a “time for acculturation, learning the traditions and norms of the community and the school system. It’s a time to build relationships with faculty, students, and parents and to meet as many people as a I can.”
He and his wife, Dr. Mariead Schuelein, a pediatric physical therapist, and their three sons live in Yorktown Heights.
The Rye City School District will be scheduling several virtual coffees to give Rye High parents, faculty, and staff a chance to meet Dr. Schuelein remotely.