First-year South Seneca High School Principal Sarah Horton has wasted no time settling into her new role. Just a couple weeks into the new school year, Horton said she couldn’t be more excited about her decision to join the Falcon family.
She also recalled the emotions she went through when she was first offered the job over the summer.
“I was immediately incredibly excited, but also somewhat nervous,” she admitted. “Change and the unknown can be hard and uncomfortable. I loved my previous position, so it was important to find the right fit for this next chapter and that certainly has been South Seneca for me.”
Horton, who was born and raised around Watkins Glen, comes to South Seneca with dynamic experiences in neighboring communities. Her first year of teaching was at Schuyler Head Start as a UPK teacher. Following that, she took a position as a Special Education Teacher in the Watkins Glen Central School District. After getting her Educational Leadership certifications, and spending two summers as an Extended School Year Principal for GST BOCES, she decided to make the jump into administration sooner than she expected. That’s when she accepted the position of assistant principal in the Elmira City School District, where she spent the last four years.
Horton’s first impression of the South Seneca Central School District has been everything she expected – and then some.
“It’s a really student-centered environment,” Horton said. “Something that stood out to me and was impressive were the various unique opportunities and courses that we offer in-house to students. I am excited to continue supporting and promoting those programs.”
“It's a close knit community and people genuinely care about students,” she added. “It has especially felt good to get through that final stretch in the summer of getting prepared for the school year and actually have students and staff back.”
Horton said one of her biggest challenges is simply building trust and rapport with all of the stakeholders – which is par for the course for any new principal. She has an open door policy and is looking forward to continuing building “a collaborative working relationship with faculty and staff.”
“I genuinely value the different perspectives and insight others bring to the table because we are better when we work together,” Horton said.
Her hope is that by being visible throughout not only the school building, but the community, she will be able to foster that connection over time. If there was one thing she would like everyone to know first and foremost, it’s that it all starts with the students.
“I want every parent and guardian to know I am 100 percent here for their children,” she said. “The saying ‘it takes a village’ is so very true and I am proud to be part of that village. My main role as the school principal is to develop positive working relationships with students, their families, and our staff. We are all working towards the same goal, and that's to support students' individual success as they work towards embarking on their next chapter after graduation.”
Horton’s ultimate goal is to build a culture that puts supporting students front and center.
“One of my biggest goals,” she said, “is to foster a school culture that is student-focused and best supports their individual needs and goals. I want every student to find their place and feel a sense of belonging at South Seneca High School. Part of this will be promoting opportunities for students to have their voices heard.”