Interview with Mr. Ianora

Nikitha Srinivasan

Mr.I anora has extensive experience in education, counseling, and administration. He has a plethora of innovative ideas to contribute to Leigh. The interview began with him describing a pivotal moment in his career. Mr.Ianora described how he obtained an opportunity to teach summer school in New York before his last term of college. He was assigned to tutor high school students who had failed their math class and had difficulties understanding certain concepts. 

He fell in love with teaching, and his degree in psychology helped him understand his students’ various mindsets.

He enjoyed interacting with students, by teaching, counseling, and even coaching sports such as soccer, tennis, and lacrosse. If I learned anything from the interview, it would be that Mr. Ianora has a passion towards learning and bringing positive transformation wherever he goes. His desire to truly assist and understand a student drove him to become a counselor while also opening his own private practice.

Mr. Ianora was a principal before the last 7 years,  when he left to devote more stable hours to see his children grow up. He planned to return to administration after his youngest child graduated from high school. He expressed his liking for the qualities and demographics of Leigh that stood out to him. With experience from a Stanford Fellowship designed specifically for principals, he learned many leadership skills that shaped his thinking.

When asked about his three-year plan for Leigh, he stated that he envisioned bringing more improvement towards student learning by “shifting focus towards student learning.” He intends to implement an MTSS, or Multi-Tiered System of Supports, a novel approach. MTSS, according to PBIS, is a framework that assists educators in developing academic and behavioral strategies for students with varying needs. Rather than simply assigning a grade, the teacher tells each student what specific topics they need to improve on. He stated that his greatest strength and accomplishment was assisting the staff-student population in shifting from teaching to learning, and that his weakness was impatience for it to happen, but that it is a process that takes a few years to complete.

H​​e also believes that a student should be passionate about a subject before considering an AP class or dual enrollment. He opposes the high level of competition for college admissions, which has a negative impact on students. 

When asked about the most important lesson he learned from the last pandemic in case we were unfortunately hit by another, he said that it was possible to transition. Many people thought it was infeasible, but with an open mind, he stated that we learned to adapt to rapid change.

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