Richard Rozakis said he has one major belief when it comes to educating students within his schools – teach the whole student.
"Children are not just a test score," he said in an interview with Babylon Village Patch. "Each child is multifaceted and each child is many things, not just a number." His core belief includes making sure each student's education cultivates a large array of classes and activities such as drama, music and athletics.
"I saw this district as a place that could do that and I wanted to be here," he said. "I believe in giving these kids a world class, 21st century education – teaching them to be problem solvers, innovators, critical thinkers, globally aware, financially literate and technology savvy."
Rozakis said the goal is to make every Babylon student a "global citizen," or ready for the rapidly approaching future as technology continues to quickly advance as it has in the last 10-15 years.
"We're thinking about the world in 2025 [for the incoming kindergarteners]," he said. "We want to make sure they're ready for the future." Rozakis said he hopes to accomplish this throughout the district by integrating technology with education in many places.
"By graduation, these children will be ready to be a digital citizen of the world," Rozakis said.
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With school starting in a few days, the superintendent said he is looking forward to the new year in another new district. Since he began teaching when he was hired years ago by the former Maria Regina Diocesan High School, now Kellenberg Memorial, in Uniondale, Rozakis has held every title a school district can have.
Rozakis has previously served as a teacher and chairperson of a department at Carey High School in Franklin Square, Assistant Principal at New Hyde Park High School, Principal of North Shore High School in Glen Head and, most recently, the Assistant Superintendent at Bellmore-Merrick School District.
Rozakis grew up in Elmont and attended Elmont High School before attending Hofstra University in Hempstead with the hopes of becoming a teacher. Rozakis now lives in Garden City with his wife Felice, a vice president at W. W. Norton Publishing in Manhattan, and his son Adam, currently a junior attending Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania. His son is following in his footsteps, studying to become a teacher.
While he is new to Babylon, Rozakis said the village was the small town he hoped it would be.
"Everyone here is very approachable and the village itself is very accessible," he said, then added with a grin: "And some very nice places to eat."
"This is the kind of community that believes in its schools and supports its children. It's a place I would have liked to bring my son up in. Who knows. Maybe someday I’ll have grandchildren who grow up here"
Our interview with Richard Rozakis was very long – we'll be following up this article with a second part on Tuesday! Stay tuned!