Joseph Nobile, principal of P.S. 304 for the past 22 years, who has guided the school for almost all of its existence, has decided to retire after 44 years of working for first the NYC Board of Education and then the NYC Department of Education.
“It is bittersweet,” said Nobile. “I have a great school and if I could freeze my age, I would stay here forever. But time marches on and I have no regrets.”
Nobile’s successor still hasn’t been selected as of press time, he said, though it is his wish that the DOE consider an assistant principal who works closely with him for the position, he said.
The principal said that he is proud of a number of initiatives, programs and activities he brought to the school, but cited the school’s high level of achievement in reading and math scores as P.S. 304’s greatest accomplishment.
“I am most proud of our reading and math scores being in the highest in the district and sometimes the Bronx in some years,” said the principal.
He is also proud of P.S. 304’s holiday shows, arts programs, being part of the teacher-training program for CUNY Lehman College, the addition of a gifted and talented program and the school’s Liberty Lawn where students celebrate Americana and American history.
He has also served as a mentor to all of the teachers, he said, which he hired and guided over the years, as well as to the students.
“I can leave knowing I made a difference to so many teacher and students, and the parents have been very supportive over the years,” said Nobile. “It has been a good run.”
He said he is going to miss the student graduation exercises a lot, as well as the energy and pace of the school year.
Nobile said he spent his entire career in District 8, including at P.S. 123, P.S. 131, P.S. 125 and I.S. 174.
He recalled he began teaching math in 1974 after one year of selling insurance shortly after he completed his undergraduate degree at St. John’s University.
He was encouraged to pursue teaching by his parents and family members.
Even though the city was letting go teachers at the time he was hired due to a fiscal crisis, math teachers were very much in demand, he said.
When he retires at the end of this school year, he hopes to spend more time with his grown children and his grandchildren.
He would also use his time to get into better physical shape, and pursue his favorite hobbies like cycling and creating stained-glass art, said Nobile.
The principal, who comes from Pelham Parkway, added he also plans on doing some traveling.