New principal wants to build on success

The second-ever principal of William Floyd Middle School discusses his goals and ideas

William Floyd Middle School now has a new principal, after former principal Carolyn Schick announced her retirement earlier this summer. Matthew Sanders will be taking the post after 16 years in the district, most recently as an assistant principal at William Floyd High School.

“Mr. Sanders has established himself as a highly-respected and ethical leader approaching all situations with careful deliberation and sound judgment,” said Kathleen Keane, assistant superintendent for secondary instruction and administration. “He has been successful in all of his roles throughout his career and we are excited to work with him in this new capacity.”

Sanders told the Advance that he’s looking to spend the first year getting to know the culture of the school and making sure students continue on a successful path. He added that his experience is ideal for a middle school environment, as he knows what will be expected of students once they begin high school. He doesn’t have plans for any major changes up front, but just wants to learn and build.

“My first order of business is to try to understand what made this school so successful,” Sanders said.

Sanders looks at middle school as a bridge between elementary and high school. He said he is attentive to the needs of incoming sixth-graders, who will be entering a much more expansive environment. He also wants to prepare eighth-graders for high school, where their environment will essentially double in size and scope.

His educational philosophy comes from a desire to provide a safe and positive foundation for students to learn and grow. Sanders wants an environment where students are allowed to foster a love for learning. He wants to use music, art, sports, clubs and more to have “anything that can hook [students] in to where school is a place where they can grow,” he said.

Sanders also hopes parents place trust in the school and know that under him it will continue to be a place for students to grow academically and socially. He seeks to be open with parents and able to work together to meet common goals. His main goal is to produce successful high school graduates and citizens.

“We want to do the best we can to build trusting relationships,” he said.

Throughout his career, Sanders has held various roles, including as a special education teacher, extracurricular advisor, union representative and coach. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in special education from Providence College, Master of Arts in liberal studies from Stony Brook University and holds advanced certificates in school building leadership and school district leadership from Stony Brook University.

The new principal recently met with the staff of the middle school to introduce himself and get to know people more personally. He is also looking forward to meeting with parents and students to introduce himself and get to know them better.

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