Wednesday, May 11, 2016


"Listen mom, you know when you when you have a hammock and everyone wants a turn? When your turn is up, you need to share!" 
~ Z.D.

Those were the words spoken by a brilliant second grader (I may be a little biased) upon hearing the news from her mom that this year would be my last as a Lead Learner at Cantiague Elementary. I cannot even begin to describe how much I love being compared to the hammock and how impressed I am by this child's ability to understand that it might be time for me to move on and work with a new community of children, families and educators. Yes, I am moving on. As of July 1, 2016, I will be joining the amazing Plainedge School District and community as an Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction. Yes, my time at Cantiague is soon coming to an end and the next step in my professional journey will take me to the central office level where I will be able to work with an incredible community of children, families, educators and colleagues to help shape the trajectory of learning and teaching on a kindergarten through 12th grade continuum. 

WOW... I still can't believe it's happening because the truth is, I never thought I would be able to give up the "hammock" I have grown to love so dearly. Even though the second grader was comparing me to the hammock, from my lens, the hammock represents Cantiague because in so many ways Cantiague has been my hammock for the last eight years. Cantiague feels so comfortable to me - it is safe, warm, nurturing, inviting, inspiring and on some levels, I have become one with the hammock. So, why get out of the hammock and try out a new one if this one works so perfectly? 

Well, as with any hammock that you've had for a long time, you start to realize that you might be just a little too comfortable in this perfect spot. No, it's not bad to get comfortable but the time has come for me to step out of the hammock, share it with someone else and try out a new hammock for myself. It is literally about pushing myself out of my comfort zone so that I can continue to learn and grow. It is about giving our amazing Cantiague community to the opportunity to become its next best iteration with the support of a new educator in the position of principal. It is also about learning with and from the Plainedge community in this new role where I can share my passions, experiences and knowledge in an effort to do what is in the best interest of children because I know that is something the Plainedge community believes in too.

Clearly, I would not have been ready to even take this next step if it wasn't for our amazing Cantiague educators, kids and community. I have learned so much over the last 8 years from every member of the community and have loved watching us become even better versions of ourselves many times along the way. We took risks, we tried new things, we abandoned things that weren't best for our kids, we successfully navigated some difficult times in education and all along the way, we kept it positive, productive and had a whole lot of fun. These are the people (and many not pictured) who were part of this 8 year journey and have shaped me, inspired me and helped me be a better me... 

As I slowly step out of my hammock at Cantiague and walk towards the new one at Plainedge, I realize a lot of what we accomplished at Cantiague was only possible because of the culture that exists in our building and community. It is a culture of yes! It is a culture of love! It is a culture of support! It is a culture of camaraderie! It is a culture of learning! It is a culture of putting kids first! Culture... it is an interesting thing. Not necessarily something you can hold or see but definitely something you can feel. Over the last 8 years I have had the honor to be immersed in the culture of this special place and as I prepare to move on to Plainedge, I take with me the hope, love, passion and culture of yes that I am excited to share with a new community of learners. Yes, Plainedge has its own unique culture that I will have the honor of getting to know and understand, but for now, the lessons I have learned at Cantiague will definitely impact how I navigate this transition and experience the first moments in a new hammock.


  1. Congratulations, Tony! You will have so much expertise in culture and instructional excellence to share with Plainedge. That Cantiague community will never be far away, literally and figuratively.

  2. Welcome, welcome Tony!! Our community of Plainedge is lucky to have you! Not to worry Cantiague friends, we'll take good care of him! Can't wait to see what the future holds :)

  3. Congratulations my friend...whatever community has you in their midst, will only become better because of your leadership and positivity. Proud of you my friend!

  4. Congratulations Tony! I have so enjoyed reading and seeing the extraordinary living and learning that is the mainstay at Cantiague. I'm looking forward to your new endeavors at Plainedge. They are lucky to have you!

  5. I know I'm not only speaking for myself when I say that I'm so happy to be a part of Cantiague's culture. I've been blessed, as I have grown so much as an educator because of you and your willingness to trust your staff in keeping the best interests of our students in mind! Thank you for leading us, for believing in us, and for helping us evolve. Plainedge is very lucky to have you.

  6. Christine MongioviMay 12, 2016 at 10:26 PM

    Tony, words cannot describe how blessed I feel to have had the opportunity to be lead by you for the past 8 years. You encouraged us to take risks, challenged our thinking and supported our ideas with dignity and respect. You not only pushed us to be the best educators we could be for our amazing students, but also supported us in being the best parents we could be for our own special little ones. I am truly going to miss your advice, support and just seeing you in our room every day. I wish you only the best in your new and exciting adventure at Plainedge. They are so lucky to have you!

  7. Great post, Tony. You are a great addition to Plainedge. Enjoy the hammock of a districtwide impact.

  8. Well written, Tony! Congratulations on your new adventure. I agree with George...whatever learning community you are a part of is one lucky learning community! Love the hammock analogy..."now it is someone else's turn." Time to make new memories, new relationships, and make a difference in other lives. This is exciting and I wish you nothing but the best. Still looking forward to the day when our paths cross. It will be epic!