'This middle school is a family'

Rachel Quattrocchi is new assistant principal


A new era has begun for Wantagh Middle School, as literacy expert Rachel Quattrocchi is beginning her first year as assistant principal.

Quattrocchi is replacing Stephanie Scolieri, who has served as assistant principal for the past eight years and has accepted the position as the district’s director of human resources.

Quattrocchi said she believes she is qualified and ready to take on her new position. She previously worked in Plainview schools for 12 years as a reading specialist before coming to Wantagh. Although this is her first  administrative position, Quattrocchi said she is no stranger to working alongside school leaders.

“When I was in Plainview, I worked very closely with our administrative team,” she said. “It was not in an official capacity, but I took on a lot of initiatives and spearheaded a lot of things.”

When she found out that Scolieri was leaving the post, Quattrocchi applied for it, and said she fell in love with Wantagh during the interview.

“I first met the principal, Anthony Ciuffo, and Stephanie Scolieri,” Quattrocchi said. “And right away, I picked up on the fact that this middle school is a family.” 

Quattrocchi added that she received a warm welcome at her first faculty meeting, and despite her being a newcomer, felt as though she’d been working in Wantagh for years.

Quattrocchi is joining Wantagh at a critical time, with the 2022-23 academic year having the potential to return the closest to normal since the first half of 2019-20, and she said she hopes to bring the pandemic-era wisdom she gained as a teacher to her position as an administrator.

“I think what really came out of the pandemic is an ability to be flexible,” she said. “I wouldn’t say we’re reverting back to what was normal, but going to a new normal, and being able to take all these things we learned with us.”

The lessons learned for educators include how to work more closely with parents, how to go virtual when necessary and adapt quickly to anything thrown at them.

She said she looks forward to building strong connections with Wantagh staff, students, parents and community.

“I really look forward to being a part of this team and joining this family,” Quattrocchi said. “I want to help teachers achieve their mission statements, and I want students to feel that they’re cared for and they’re loved.”

Quattrocchi, a Long Island native who attended Harborfields High School, said she aspired to becoming an educator as early as high school.

“I graduated high school half a year early because I knew that I wanted to go into education,” Quattrocchi said. “So this way, I could start college early. I was ahead of the curve.”

She started college a semester early, beginning her first semester at Long Island University in Brookville while everyone else was in their last semester of high school. Quattrocchi earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education, graduating a semester early in college as well due to her earlier start.

She also achieved a master’s degree in literacy at LIU, as well as a number of certifications, including teaching students with disabilities and childhood education, and an advanced certificate in educational leadership.

“I minored in social studies,” Quattrocchi added. “So I’m also certified in social studies, but I’ve never taught it.”

Quattrocchi took her first job at her alma mater, accepting a leave replacement job for a reading specialist at Harborfields, where she had been substitute teaching since graduating college.

She accepted another leave replacement job for a year in Huntington schools, before returning to Harborfields in a tenure-track job for three years.

“They unfortunately didn’t have a place for me,” Quattrocchi said. “So I didn’t stay there.”