New assistant principal rounds out high school team

Joe Slichko smiling at camera

“We need to think outside the box for what our students need and what supports we can give them.”

A few days into the job, new high school assistant principal Joe Slichko is learning the ropes. With Cynthia Herron moving to the middle school to serve as assistant principal and CSE chair, the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Board of Education appointed Slichko to the position at the high school.

“It’s a breath of fresh air. Everyone has been so welcoming,” Slichko said of his first few days in the district.

Already working closely with new principal Lisa Patierne, Slichko says the pair have set their sights on creating relationships with their new students, staff and community.

“Obviously, with students, creating a relationships is number one,” Slichko said. “Showing them that this is their school, they have ownership over what we do here, how we do it, why we do it.”

Slichko plans to be out greeting his students with a smile on the first day of school and spending the day introducing himself to the students. He hopes his efforts will let students know who he is while giving him the opportunity to get to know them as well.

“I was looking to get back to my roots,” Slichko said of his transition from assistant principal at Schenectady High School to RCS.

Before his year at Schenectady, Slichko spent 5 years as principal at Holy Spirit School in East Greenbush and St. Augustine School in Troy. He was the assistant principal at the La Salle Institute in Troy and a math teacher at that school for eight years.

Part of the role of assistant principal is discipline. Slichko believes using restorative practices with discipline is integral to the process.

“Kids are going to make mistakes,” he said. “It’s important to get to the root cause of, why did they do what they did and how do we get them to the place where they will not make the decision to do that again.”

Slichko is also eager to continue building bridges between the school community and the greater RCS community.

“It’s about breaking down the walls of the building, really getting us out into the community and showing that we support them and we appreciate what they do for our students,” Slichko said. “But also getting the community in the school to see our kids too, to see the great things that our students are doing.”

What is comes down to for Slichko is building relationships, collaborating with students, staff and the community, and really listening to his students to help them find their path.

“We need to think outside the box for what our students need and what support we can give them,” he said. “It’s not cookie cutter, it’s what is your path and how can we adapt to you to get you where you want to be.”