The Hudson Valley Pathways Academy (HVPA) at Ulster BOCES has a new principal learner. Local educator Joseph Salamone has been appointed as the new principal learner of the innovative P-TECH-designed school housed on the campus of SUNY Ulster. He replaces Peter Harris, who has been appointed as the Ulster BOCES Director of Learning and Design for the Career Pathways Programs.
"Joe’s strong experience as a high school principal, along with his passionate advocacy for using project-based approaches to address real-world problems as a method to foster and encourage student engagement, positioned him as the ideal choice to become the lead learner at HVPA, a title traditionally known as the school principal," said District Superintendent Dr. Charles V. Khoury. "Our HVPA program is a model learning environment in which all learners are encouraged to develop their unique self, reach their capacity, and contribute to the community through continuous cycles of inquiry, and Joe's deep understanding and commitment to this vision are evident."
Salamone graduated from Union College with a bachelor’s degree in Managerial Economics and a minor in German. He then earned his master’s degree in Social Studies and Special Education in Grades 7-12 from Mount Saint Mary College.
From 2017-2021, Salamone served as Wallkill High School’s principal, and before that he was assistant principal at Washingtonville High School for more than five years. He also served as dean of students at the Monroe Woodbury Central School District, and spent seven years as a Social Studies teacher at Washingtonville High School.
The Little Falls, NY, native says he found his way into the education field by accident. Towards the end of his final undergraduate semester, Salamone was having second thoughts about going into international finance and decided to move home to write his thesis. To earn extra money, he worked as a substitute teacher and after his first day, he says, he never looked back. “I walked in [the classroom], and I realized this is what I was supposed to do with my career,” he reflects.
To pursue his career in education, he enrolled in Mount Saint Mary College’s Transition B Alternative Teacher Preparation Program and then became a certified teacher in New York State.
In 2018, Salamone, along with a team of Wallkill High School educators, began designing a project-based learning course called Senior Capstone. In this process, they worked closely with Harris, who was still the HVPA principal at the time, and Ulster BOCES Deputy Superintendent Dr. Jonah Schenker.
As part of the research, Salamone visited HVPA to observe the school in action, and recalls how he was able to clearly see how project-based learning can drive student engagement and foster deeper learning. He was excited about the work, and knew that he wanted to be a part of the HVPA vision of teaching and learning.
“It was then that I realized this was my dream job,” the New Paltz resident says. “This first year is really exciting; I love seeing how things unfold from day-to-day.” Salamone is most impressed with the level of self-confidence and self-actualization that the young scholars experience through the program. As a new principal learner he says, “When I first arrived I found it to be a huge relief that Ulster BOCES uses the North Star Educational Commitments and I find using them as a compass is very helpful.” Salamone adds this guidance is a natural fit for HVPA, “These four commitments are what Hudson Valley Pathways does. We help our young scholars develop their unique self, grow their capacity, contribute to the community, and engage in cycles of inquiry.”
“This is so different from my past experience in education. It is going to be really fun, and I get to learn and grow with everyone else.”
- Hudson Valley Pathways Academy