Getting to Know You

Alyssa Sabbatino Ms. Sabbatino at her desk

Ms. Alyssa Sabbatino is the Associate Principal at Hudson Junior High School.

Here are a few things to help you get to know Ms. Sabbatino:

What is your role here at the Hudson City School District, and where do you work?
I am the new Associate Principal at Hudson Junior High School (J.H.S.). My office is right next to Mr. Reardon’s office. I’ll be teaming up with the Guidance Office to identify the social and emotional needs of our students, and tying that to discipline and instructional interventions when necessary. I’ll also work with the J.H.S. faculty on building positive relationships and effective engagement with our students and families.

When did you start working here?
I was approved by the Board of Education on July 24, 2017 and I officially started my position in August 2017.

What do you like most about your job?
Junior high is my favorite place to be because it’s an important, transitional period for most students and I feel I can have a positive impact. The energy in junior high/middle school is ripe for encouraging growth and responsibility.

In terms of student discipline, I like thinking about the psychology behind discipline and where discipline needs originate. When students act out and require some form of discipline, I first try to figure out what’s happening or what they are communicating to me through their actions. Then I think about how I can best support them. The discipline is secondary and the understanding and support are most important for individual growth.

I really like having the opportunity to facilitate growth in not only students, but teachers as well.

What goal(s) do you hope to accomplish while working at H.C.S.D.?
First and foremost, my number one goal is to build trust with the J.H.S. faculty, staff and students. I want them to know that they can count on me and that I am here to support them in any way I can. Trust is a necessary factor in effective school environments.

Another goal is to help students through the transfer between the elementary world and the middle school world. Not only do students experience brand new content in their classes, but the ways in which classes are structured and organized also differ from elementary school. As I mentioned, the junior high years offer a lot of opportunities to inspire personal growth and responsibility in students. I also look at these years as a foundation for high school and beyond, so preparing junior high students for those transitions is a goal as well.

Every city and every school district is different, so I also want to get to know the greater Hudson community and its residents so I can be culturally responsive to this vastly diverse student body.

What is your education background?
I got my bachelor’s in English from UAlbany and then earned my Masters of Arts in Teaching from Union Graduate College in Schenectady. I also hold an Administrative Degree from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.

What is your background like – previous jobs?
Before coming to Hudson, I worked in the Schenectady City School District for several years. I was a 7th grade English teacher for four years and a Literacy Coach for two years. A lot of my time was spent focusing on literacy strategies and other ways to engage students. Then I became an Instructional Coach, which is like a teacher trainer. I worked with teachers on co-teaching, cognitive coaching, and preparation for A.P.P.R. evaluations.

Most recently, I was an Engagement Dean at Schenectady. I handled disciplinary actions, as well as special education students and improvements in classroom instruction and climate.

Tell us a bit about your life outside of school.
I grew up in Saratoga, N.Y. and I currently live in Colonie. I have two children of my own and I also raised my younger brothers.

When I’m not at work, I love to read. I’m in a book club with some friends and we’re currently reading “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates. I also enjoy photography and I have a small photography business on the side. I mainly do portrait and landscape work, in addition to events like weddings, showers, and baptisms.

Before working here, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?
I spent some time in Ecuador working in a leprosy hospital. That experience made me want to become an English teacher. When I was a senior in college, I changed my major from Psychology to Education. My time in South America influenced that shift. It was so powerful to see what education can do for people.

What is the best advice anyone has given you?
The best advice I’ve received is to “trust your struggle.” We all have varying degrees of struggles, and this advice always reminds me that learning from challenges - approaching them from a growth mindset - is essential to overcoming personal and professional obstacles. We can trust our struggles to be motivators and learning mechanisms rather than letting them defeat us.

What is your motto or personal mantra?
“Carpe diem.”