Middle school. It’s not for the faint of heart.
But where many fear to tread, Bob Salladino, EdD (’93, MEd’97), principal of Owen J. Roberts Middle School in Pottstown, Pa., is excited about where he has spent his career.
“Admittedly, it’s not for everyone,” he says.
“People frequently groan when I tell them that I work in a middle school. I have spent my entire career in education—now beginning my 18th year—working with students at this age level. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Salladino’s exuberance for education in general and for his school in particular is fueled, in part, by the energy he draws from the teachers and staff with whom he works.
“I am fortunate to work in a school where I am surrounded by teachers and staff members who thrive on working with students at this level,” he says.
“These teachers understand that middle school students are exploring new levels of independence but are still in need of and welcome the structure and guidance that is available from their teachers.”
Drawing on his teaching experience has made Salladino effective as a principal, he says.
“I have worked in three great schools in three great school districts. Being a teacher was a wonderful time in my career; however, now I am in a position where I can share my ideas, passion, and energy in a broader scope.”
Reflecting on his experience, Salladino concludes that being a principal today is both challenging and exciting.
“With each year, all educators are being held more and more accountable for the progress of each and every student,” he says.
“The principal must wear many, many hats – not just managing the school, but leading in a way that promotes the growth of all students and teachers. No Child Left Behind [NCLB] has dramatically altered the ‘rules of the game’ for all schools and leaders.
“Funding and budget pressures have also placed new restrictions and barriers on the work of school leaders. With all of that said, I love my job and I accept the challenge and excitement that it offers.”
One of the challenges Salladino took on was improving the health and wellness of his students. With receipt of an Active Schools Grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Salladino’s school delivered more opportunities for its students to be physically active last year: additional after- and before-school activities, power walks during team time, and exercise with the HOPSports multimedia physical fitness system.
“I had the opportunity to address the Pennsylvania State Board of Education in May to discuss the importance of this initiative in our school,” says Salladino.
“We are planning to expand our program this year and to continue our work in helping students to be active and fit.”
Salladino is a graduate of Cabrini College, where he received bachelor’s degrees in history and mathematics, a master of education and secondary principal certification.
He received a doctor of education from Immaculata University and is currently an adjunct faculty member in Cabrini’s Graduate Education Program, teaching a course on education and social policy.
“The Cabrini faculty modeled for me many of the qualities that I have come to understand are the hallmarks of outstanding educators – knowledge of subject, passion for teaching and learning, and concern and compassion for students.
“Truly, I am a proud Cabrini graduate and I am sure to tell anyone who will listen about the fabulous education that I have received. My wife is also a Cabrini graduate (Karen Moffett Salladino ’93, G’00), so the College holds a special place in the Salladino household.”