When Joanne Hozeny moves into the office of school principal at the Mount Prospect Elementary School in February, she will be on familiar ground. As the school's assistant principal since August 2007, she has worked alongside Judith Slutzky, who retires in January.
Slutzky, who has been Mount Prospect's principal since the school opened 14 years ago to serve The Hills development, described Hozeny as "the perfect choice" to become the school's second principal.
"She knows the school, she knows the students, she knows the curriculum," Slutzky said of Hozeny, who in previous years was a teacher at both the Mount Prospect and Oak Street elementary schools.
"I am both thrilled and honored to become the principal of Mount Prospect School," Hozeny added on Friday. "Having been a teacher when Mount Prospect School opened, I feel so connected to the school and all of its many traditions. We look forward to continuing traditions already in place and creating new activities to involve the students and the community as a whole," she said.
With her background — which also includes working with the New Jersey Department of Education in the office of early literacy and also as an assistant principal and supervisor at the Quarles School in Englewood — Hozeny knows the school and the district's curriculum, Slutzky said.
"Her overall experience and experience in district made her a very good fit," said Schools Superintendent Nick Markarian.
Along with her experience, Hozeny also has her own fresh ideas of what she would like to do as the school's top administrator, Slutzky said.
The principal-to-be said professional development is one of her key areas of interest. She said she looks forward to working with teachers to support their understanding of new curricula and the new state Common Core Standards, using data to help drive their instruction to meet student's individual needs.
"As well, I am excited to strengthen our community outreach and parental involvement," Hozeny added. "We have such a rich community of talents, languages and interest levels. I would love to tap into this resource. Mount Prospect will be a special place for all who enter," she said.
Slutzky said she was principal at the Oak Street school in 1997 when she hired Hozeny to fill in for a very popular teacher on maternity leave. She recalls interviewing prospective teachers all day until Hozeny came in at 5 p.m. — and she said she knew she had the right person.
Hozeny was appointed as principal at the Nov. 26 Board of Education meeting for an annual salary of $137,474, said Susan McGowan, board president.
The district will fill the position of assistant principal at the school following Slutzky's retirement and Hozeny's move to principal, she said.