By Cindy Zomar, Contributing Writer
Marlborough – Mike Nawrocki is the newest principal of the Advanced Math and Science Academy (AMSA) Charter school in Marlborough, but that wasn’t his original career path. Nawrocki earned a degree in finance, but it was a summer job that pointed him in the right direction.
“I taught U.S. history II at Assabet Valley’s summer school in 2009, just to help out. I worked with the city of Marlborough’s Recreation Department and summer camps, and always enjoyed working with teens,” Nawrocki recalled. “My father, who’s been in insurance his whole life, urged me to find what excited me, not to be a ‘bean-counter.’ The more I thought about it, the more I realized that helping kids touched my heart, it was something different every day, and it definitely excited me.”
Nawrocki signed on at AMSA in 2010 as a special needs teacher, but quickly moved on to the administrative side to be the dean of students.
“At that point I seriously thought about combining my finance background with education, and even got certified as a school business manager, but I realized that I would lose touch with the students. Instead, I became assistant principal at AMSA and now principal…. I am right where I want to be.”
He will complete his master’s degree in educational leadership in early May.
Nawrocki hopes to continue the success of the school, as AMSA has been ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the second-best high school in the commonwealth. He intends to continue to lead a positive working environment for the staff, and a safe and supportive environment for the students.
“We are obviously doing great things now, but we need to study what we’re doing and see where we can tweak to become even better at what we do for kids,” he said.
One long-range goal is to develop a more strategic collection of student performance data. Designing reports that will cross-reference different areas of a student’s records should find correlations that may dictate more data-informed decision making.
“We will continue to celebrate successes, understand them, and ensure that we are challenging and engaging all students by adding new courses, etc.,” Nawrocki noted. “Our mission is to educate all students so that they can excel individually. We are seeking to be a model for education in Massachusetts.”
Nawrocki referred to new progress in collaboration, the recently formed STEM Council, bringing together students from AMSA, Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School and Marlborough High School, along with the Marlborough Economic Development Corporation, Mass Hire Career Centers and several businesses in the life sciences, to do a project on space habitation.
“I feel like I represent this little triangle on the committee, as I work at AMSA, my mom taught at Assabet Valley, and I graduated from Marlborough High School,” Nawrocki said. “The walls are being knocked down. We want to continue to focus on community collaboration, and with the help of our Community Outreach Coordinator, Mark Vital, we are making great strides.”
“Living in the city where I grew up, working at one of the top schools in the state, I feel so very lucky,” he said. “It’s all very exciting and I couldn’t ask for anything better.”