But, Principal Dr. Robert Salladino isn't the only Salladino embarking on his Springton Lake career on Tuesday, either.
Salladino's oldest son, Ryan, will start as a sixth grader at Springton Lake as well. So Salladino has some competition on a day of firsts.
Welcome to Springton LakeSalladino, or Dr. Sal, comes to the Rose Tree Media School District after having been principal of Owen J. Roberts Middle School in Pottstown since 2007.
He began his career in the Lower Merion School District as a middle school math teacher and wanted a larger impact on a school and left to go to the Abington School District to serve as an assistant principal at the junior high school.
"Each step in my career, I've changed districts," Salladino said. "This is the first time I've made sort of a lateral move but I do so very specifically because I live in this commnunity."
Salladino, who lives in Middletown Township and his younger son attends Indian Lane Elementary, said when the position became available in RTM he knew he had to apply.
"The one thing that had always been missing for me was to be connected to the community where I lived," he said. "To be able to have an impact on the education of the kids on my street, in the local baseball league and my own kids, was a unique opportunity."
Being closer to home will not only benefit Salladino's career but also his family life. He will be able to attend his son's school events not just as a father, but as the school's principal. And the commute isn't too bad either.
"As I've joked around with people, there will be two Salladino's beginning at Springton Lake, not just me, but also my son," he said.
Salladino said his son is extremely excited about starting his time at Springton Lake and thinks his dad being the principal is pretty cool, but he isn't sure if the allure will change over his son's middle school career.
"The cost is, my dad's the principal at my school. But the benefit is, that my dad is able to come to events and be home more often," Salladino said.
Salladino has lived in Delaware County his whole life and his wife, Karen, is a teacher in the Lower Merion School District. They met at Cabrini College and moved to Middletown Township in 2003.
No special treatment for Ryan though, as the Salladino family plan is to keep the first day of school and each day as "normal" as possible.
"He needs to be a middle schooler," Salladino said. "Middle school is such a cool time. ...I want him to have that middle school experience."
Starting OverSalladino has been at the school since mid-August and held a few meetings and meet and greets with teachers, new students and the whole community.
"You're starting over. Everything is new. Everybody is new, every thing is new," he said. "So it's been great to meet people and learn about Springton Lake."
Salladino said the teachers and staff at Springton "get" the kids at this age level and they want to work with kids at this age level and that's the same thing he brings to the school.
"Everything that I pour into this school, I know it's not only impacting the school but it's doubly rewarding that it will be impacting and coloring my own child's middle school experience," he said.
Salladino wants to build a good relationship and trust with the staff and the community and learn as much as possible about the school in his first year.
"Right now, we are striving for nothing short of 'wow' for these kids. We want their middle school experience to be, 'wow,'" he said. "That's our benchmark."
Salladino wants the students to feel excited about coming to school, to feel connected to the school and to feel safe.
"Everything that the principal does, has an impact on how kids feel when they come to school," he said. "I want kids to feel proud to be a Springton Lake student."
Salladino understands he needs to earn the trust of the community after last year's new principal Dr. Troy Czukoski was dismissed following a federal investigation. Czukoski pleaded guilty to possession of child porn in May.
"I am now another new principal and I'm coming from the outside. So I need to earn their trust and re-establish the trust they have in our school and in the office of the principal, and I get that," Salladino said.
He said he hopes that the connection he has with living in the community shows them just how important this role is to him.
"I have a personal stake in all of this," he said. "I know the eyes are on me and I'm going to do everything I can for the kids, the community and the school so that people can feel proud of Springton Lake Middle School."
First Day of School"On Tuesday, the entire company is here," he said. "I'm excited for the first day of school. I can't wait to see how this whole place will come alive on Tuesday."
The students will be welcomed back and the tone will be set for the year.
"I have high expectations for everything, their academics, behavior and all the outstanding things they are going to accomplish," Salladino said.
The newly renovated middle school building, along with the outstanding teachers and the students who are really good kids and excited to learn is a "recipe for success," he said.
Salladino told the sixth graders during transition camp that if they have a little anxiety or fear of the unknown on the first day of school, it's all normal.
"As I joked around with them at the transition camps, I said, 'I'm right there with you,'" he said. "First day for you, first day for me. I know exactly how the sixth graders are feeling but it's going to be great."
"We're ready," Salladino said.
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