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Students meet new MS principal

When Mike Caraccio met with middle school students this week, he posed a question he assumed might be on their minds: “How did the guy directing traffic in the parking lot end up in the middle school principal’s office?”
Caraccio joined the district this fall and – in addition to his duties as Humanities Coordinator – he helped with MS morning traffic flow. That was likely the place where students and parents saw him, until January 3 when he took over the very visible position of middle school principal.
To answer that question, and to show why he is “super excited” to be in his new role, Caraccio shared a bit of his personal story – and then shared some of his thoughts on key topics: learning, hard work and kindness.
But first, he told how Gary Gerst “had two big jobs” and will now focus full time on being the Director of Learning, as he (Caraccio) takes on the role of principal.
Being an administrator (and building principal) was Caraccio’s goal or dream. But he didn’t start off planning to be in education.  His first dream was to be a banker. “Sometimes you achieve a dream and realize it is not for you,” he explained. “So I shifted. I decided to find my passion.” He chose teaching after thinking about the huge impact teachers made on his life.
After going back to school and then working as a math teacher and coach in districts in Central New York, he set a new goal: being an administrator.
“Never stop setting goals,” said Caraccio, who grew up in Camillus and spent time working in administration in the West Genesee School District before being hired to work in Skaneateles last summer. Caraccio’s wife, Beth Van Nostrand, grew up in Skaneateles. The two are raising their three children here.
Caraccio told students he hopes they will find their passion. And in order to get there, he recommended they focus on three things:
  • Learning. “Never stop learning.”
  • Hard work. “You can be anything you want to be if you work hard,” he stressed. Working hard, failing, and then working around difficulties “is a huge skill.” Students knew what he meant, and some shouted: GRIT!
  • Kindness. Be kind, he said, stressing that he sees students being kind every day at the middle school. “People remember how you treat them.”
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Lynda Quick
45 East Elizabeth Street
Skaneateles, NY 13152