P.S. 14 principal announces retirement

P.S. 14 principal Robert Guzzio will retire after 10 years of service on July 15. - Photo courtesy of Robert Guzzio

Inspired by his generous spirit and innovate thinking, the students and staff of P.S. 14 will deeply miss their principal when he retires this July.

“Robert Guzzio took us from an era in which the teachers worked independently behind closed doors to a time and place where collaboration spills out into the hallways and into lunch hours,” P.S. 14 second grade teacher Lyana Genovese said.

While Guzzio said he didn’t begin the year thinking of retirement, a series of personal and professional circumstances led him to the decision.

Guzzio began his teaching career as a mathematics instructor on the east end of Long Island at Riverhead Junior High School in 1970.

Approximately eight years later he decided to adjust his career path and enter the private sector. After 17 years in property management, Guzzio said he found a need within himself to once again teach.

“I had loved working with children and wanted to return to doing so,” he explained.

Shortly after obtaining a teaching position at I.S. 218 in Washington Heights, under the direction of the school’s principal, Dr. Betty Rosa, Guzzio earned a second master’s degree in Education, Administration and Supervision.

Upon receipt of his supervisory license, Guzzio accepted the assistant principal position at P.S. 14. After four years, he moved up the academic ladder into his role as principal, where he’ll finish out his sixth year on July 15.

“I have been very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with the children, parents and staff of our P.S. 14 community,” he said. “Together we have accomplished some wonderful things.”

Guzzio said he’s most proud of introducing the Kinder Way, a character education program that’s enhanced the school’s culture.

Also pleased with the students’ performance consistency, Guzzio said the school’s state ELA and math scores of students at or above grade level have increased from about 55% in 2004 to approximately 80% in 2008. P.S. 14 has also been a New York High Performing and Gap Closing school for three consecutive years.

While P.S. 14’s special education teacher Anne Dowling said, “His dedication and love of children reminds us of what his job is about,” Guzzio assured such successes were only possible through the endless support of his co-workers.

“Our professional staff is remarkable. They care. They take initiative, assume responsibility and continually seek to improve their understanding of how children learn,” he explained. “I will miss seeing everyone on a daily basis and the pleasure of working with the staff and for our students, parents and community.”

As for his future plans, Guzzio said he intents to spend more time with his family, travel and seek another opportunity to stay connected with education.

Recalling his experience at P.S. 14, Guzzio offered a familiar quote. “As the Beatles say, ‘If I only knew then what I know now.’ Fortunately, no regrets, I did my best and I believe I made a difference.”

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