New Principal Named at Finley Middle School

Traci Roethel has been appointed principal of J. Taylor Finley Middle School, effective July 1.

Currently principal of Woodhull Intermediate School, she will succeed John Amato, who is retiring as Finley’s principal at the close of the school year.

“I’m really excited about being named Finley’s new principal,” Roethel said. “I am looking forward to working with the faculty and staff and I am happy to be back at the middle school level where I started my administrative career.”

She has been principal of Woodhull Intermediate School since February 2014. She earlier served as assistant principal at Candlewood Middle School in Dix Hills for four years.

“I am thrilled with the appointment of Mrs. Roethel as Finley’s next principal,” Huntington Superintendent James W. Polansky said. “Prior to her joining the Huntington family she spent years as an administrator in a middle school setting. She is wholly suited to help Huntington students and their families make the transition from sixth grade to middle school. She is well versed in the curricula at both levels and has a firm grasp of the social and emotional needs of middle school-age children. I am confident that she will continue to enjoy her Huntington experience and that Finley staff and students will continue to thrive under her leadership.”

Shel earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education at Stetson University in Florida in 1992. She obtained a Master of Science degree in education with a specialization in math at Queens College in 2003 and completed an advanced graduate certificate in educational leadership at Stony Brook University in 2009.

 Roethel has completed numerous educational workshops related to curriculum and improving instruction, including Columbia University Teacher’s College seminars.

Before moving into administration, she  worked as a sixth grade math teacher and fourth grade classroom teacher in Oyster Bay and as a math consultant to the Oyster Bay-East Norwich, Shoreham-Wading River and Hicksville school districts. She was a fourth grade teacher in Volusia County, Fla., for seven years before moving to New York.

She and her husband, Guenther, a captain with JetBlue Airways, are the parents of three children; Kirsten, a senior, Hailey, a freshman and Tyler, a sixth grader. The longtime educator spends her weekends running her children around to their many activities.

Amato has been principal of J. Taylor Finley Middle School since July 2006 after having served as assistant principal at Sayville Middle School for six years. He earlier worked as a seventh and eighth grade special education teacher in the Sachem school district, where he began his administrative career as a remedial summer school assistant principal.

A 1986 graduate of St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue with a Bachelor of Arts degree in human relations and a concentration in leadership and human resources development and management, Amato obtained a Master of Science degree in special education at Adelphi University in 1989. He earned his administrative certification through The College of New Rochelle in 1999.

Polansky said the district will soon begin the process that will lead to the hiring of a new principal for Woodhull School for the 2019/20 school year.

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