There’s gonna be a new pedagogical sheriff in town at Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County in New Milford, as Larry Mash, the acting principal of New Milford High School, will become Schechter’s middle school principal.
In August, Mash will take over for Rabbi Stuart Saposh, who is Schechter’s head of school but who has been acting principal of its middle school for the past year.
Saposh, who will remain Schecther’s head of school, said Mash has already started meeting with the school’s parents and teachers. "[They] already see the potential,’ said Saposh, of his new hire, adding that they feel that Mash could be "a vital and successful leader in the community."
The Conservative day school provides classes for pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, and serves students from 4′ towns in Bergen County.
Mash, who has been the vice principal of New Milford High School for nine years, took over as its acting principal last week.
"We were looking for someone with a wide knowledge of curriculum, somebody really dedicated to fostering excellence in all areas of our school program," Saposh said. Mash fit "all of the above."
Mash lives in Fair Lawn with his wife, Jill, and their two children, Jeremy, 14, and Jamie, 17.
And after working for public schools for 30 years, Mash said that he is looking forward to the challenges of joining a private school. But regardless of the type of school, he feels that his job is based on interacting with students.
"I’ve been pleased to watch the maturity and educational growth of many thousands of students over the years," he said. "[I enjoy] watching the ‘light bulb’ go off in a student when they reach into a level of understanding…. In education you get to see that quite often, it’s very pleasing."
Mash also said that he is eager to see how his own religious identity grows as a result of being in the Schechter environment. The religious background is a large part of why parents choose to send their kids to day school, he said, and he hopes to "keep that emphasis alive and join in."
Mash, who was also the acting principal of New Milford Middle School last year, has also been an English teacher and athletic coach at the New Milford High.
"The administrator is a facilitator between teachers and students. [It’s my job] to do whatever is necessary to increase that magic that goes on in the classroom between teacher and student," he said. "In that sense, I see myself as an aide to the teachers."
Mash has played a range of different roles and expects his duties at Schechter to focus on administrative responsibilities. He has already started speaking to other faculty about increasing student activities, and perhaps athletic programs.
Mash’s wife also works at Solomon Schechter, as a third-grade teacher.
As for the students, Mash is eager to "assist in their growth as members of the Jewish community and better prepare them for success in high school."
Mash has a bachelor’s degree in education from Northern Illinois University, as well as a master’s in administration and supervision from William Paterson University. He has served on the executive council of the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association and the Bergen County Secondary Schools Principals Association.
Mash expects to stay at Schechter for the foreseeable future, and his new boss is eager to see what he will be able to do.
"With Larry Mash as the principal of the school, we will continue to build the program in a direction that will emphasize excellence in the academic," Saposh said. "Young men and women will grow to be menschen."