In the midst of a transition into her new role as assistant superintendent of Malverne Schools — which became effective on July 15 — Rose Linda Ricca, 56, ruminated on her experience as an educator over the last 26 years.
“I just can’t imagine myself teaching in another district — it’s felt more like family to me than anything else,” Ricca said. “These aren’t just teachers — we’ve all become friends, even with the students.”
Before becoming chairwoman of the math department in 2001 and earning the title of math, science and technology chair last year, Ricca began teaching in 1987, and she still cherishes the special moments she shared with students in several districts in Port Washington and Valley Stream before she came to Malverne. She recalled one of her most gratifying moments as an educator, when students in her eighth grade class chipped in to give her a plaque that was engraved, “Thank you for your devoted service to us.”
Ricca has earned several more-official accolades in her career, including the Nassau Math Teachers Association award, Malverne Schools’ Best Teacher award, the Town of Hempstead Pathfinder Award in Education, the Leadership Award in Education from Molloy College and Nassau County Math Teacher of the Year award.
She said she hopes to spearhead several new developments in the district. “I look upon things as a teacher, not an administrator,” she said. “I have the students’ best interests at heart.”
One of her primary goals for the upcoming school year is to incorporating the Common Core Learning Standards program into the schools’ curriculum, which involves a more hands-on, interdisciplinary approach to teaching. Teachers will introduce more informational texts in the classroom as a way to encourage students to read, analyze and solve problems in every subject.
Ricca also said that she hopes to incorporate technology such as iPads into classrooms so that students can more easily gain access to information and improve their research skills. “We want to use these computers as a learning tool,” she said, “and move our students into the 21st century.”
As she faces a new school year with a new title, Ricca said that she looks forward to making great strides alongside her colleagues in the district, and saluted her students with some advice, courtesy of Walt Disney: “If you can dream it, you can do it.”
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