New principal Joseph Carducci Jr. says he has come upon the "best-kept secret" in the county school system -- Northeast High School.
"I didn't know much about the school when I got here. The kids here are an extremely friendly and respectful group. They made me feel very welcome."
Carducci took over for retiring principal Joseph Cardamone on Feb. 1. Cardamone was the chief administrator at Northeast, which has 981 students in grades 9 through 12, for 4 years.
"I came in at semester time, it was interesting," explained Carducci, who still has packed boxes stacked near a book case in his office. "I found the school to be run very well. I attribute this to an excellent principal, Mr. Cardamone. We have some of the best department heads I have ever encountered."
Cardamone gave Carducci a tour of the school and the community to help smooth the transition.
Carducci said his plans are to continue the school system's goals of keeping up with the Maryland Department of Education's functional testing, getting students to pass the tests, lowering the dropout rate and improving attendance.
"My basic goals go along with every school in the county," he explained. "I view the school as a community learning center -- a partnership between teachers, students and the community -- to meet the needsof the students."
He added he would like to stress traditional, "old-fashioned" values during his tenure.
"Values like honesty and hard work as a means of living -- reflecting values they learn at home," he said.
"No school is perfect," he added. "But as a school, this school is in good shape."
Carducci began his career as a teacher at Thomas Johnson Jr. High School in Prince George's County from 1969-1971 and he has worked at three Anne Arundel schools.
In 1971,he was hired as a department head at Southern Middle School in SouthCounty.
His job was to implement a math program of independent and group study. Students in sixth through eighth grade weren't graded -- they were allowed to move at their own pace.
Three years later,Carducci became an administrative trainee at Old Mill High School.
"I was learning the ropes and learning procedures and the adustments you have to go through to a new kind of work other than teaching," said Carducci. He was at Old Mill for five years.
His longest stint to date, nine years, was as assistant principal at Andover High School, which was combined with Brooklyn Park last fall to form North County High School. At Andover, Carducci was in charge of master scheduling, data processing and registration.
As senior assistant principal for eight of his nine years, Carducci became acting principal twice due to illness of the regular principal.
He began the school year in 1989 as interim principal at Andover. With the reshuffling of Andover and Brooklyn Park, a new administration came in and Carducci was assigned as an assistant principal at Annapolis High School beforebecoming principal at Northeast.