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Photo of Andy Pemrick with two graduates holding diplomas

RA Principal Andy Pemrick with two RA graduates in June 2018.

October is National Principals Month, and we’re introducing you to our building principals with a short Q&A. Andy Pemrick is the principal of Rensselaer Academy, and also oversees our class at Rensselaer Jr./Sr. High School, Physical Education teachers and Reading Resource teachers.

Tell us about your “road to becoming a principal”. How did you end up in this role?

I began as a special education teacher and eventually realized I wanted to play a larger role in the education of all learners.

What is your favorite part of your job?

Being around the kids, getting to play with them outside and in gym, watching them grow over the years. Working with teachers, consistently looking for new and fun ways to promote learning. I enjoy seeing teachers get excited when they try new things.

How do you know that you are making an impact on your students?

Good question – I’m not always sure. Quite often it is hard to tell, but when I see students being respectful, helping others, using their manners, following school rules and smiling, I know.

What is one surprising thing about your job most people wouldn’t expect?

Tough one. We are not just educational leaders or education-focused.  Principals are often counselors, psychologists, friends, sounding boards, advice-givers etc.  Our staff and students at times become like family, so we get to know a lot about them and their children, husbands, car problems, new cars, basement floods, new babies, first home purchase, husbands being deployed overseas, when their kids are sick, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, the list goes on.  It is pretty awesome to be a part of so many exciting events in everyone’s lives. Also, we don’t have 9-5 jobs. Our jobs requires us to take our work home. Whether that is researching new curriculum, finishing up work, observations or helping our staff with things going on. I spend couple nights a week talking with staff when they need advice, or someone is sick and don’t know what to do, like I said, being a principal requires way more then just the educational side.

What are some of your favorite things to do outside of work?

I enjoy watching my own children’s sporting events. Hunter is 17, Drew is 14 and Alex (girl) is 4. All three play hockey. The boys also play lacrosse and football. We all enjoy golfing, hanging out with our extended families, cousins, grandparents etc.

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