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NY Times Profiles SISCL Principal Rose Kerr

Rose Kerr: Paint the Big Picture

Oct. 31, 2011, 12:03 a.m.

In Principal’s Office, a regular feature of SchoolBook, a city school principal is interviewed for insights into school management and the life of a school leader. What do you think makes a good principal? Join the conversation below.

Rose Kerr is the principal of the Staten Island School of Civic Leadership, Staten Island’s first K-8 school, which opened its doors in 2009. It is based on the philosophy of Stephen Covey, the author of “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.”

In an interview, Ms. Kerr, 57, who grew up in East New York, Brooklyn, and attended parochial school, talked about the challenge of creating a rich curriculum for students at the same time that they face pressure to do well on standardized tests. Ms. Kerr’s salary was $140,000 in 2010. This interview was edited and condensed.

Q.

What was your mission for this school?

A.

There were three pillars that we based the proposal on: Civic leadership, parent involvement and academics. At the time, the world was crying out for leaders. Where are we going to find the leaders? We’re going to find them among our young people. We appreciate that in high school students start to take leadership roles. They become service learners, they go to nursing homes, they get internships. But why only begin there? Why not begin in pre-K?

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