What started as a call to education has led Trish Iasiello to accept the position as the assistant principal for Fox Meadow Elementary School.
“I had a few teachers who never made students feel like they didn’t know something,” Iasiello said. “And, growing up I played school. I innately knew that’s what I wanted to do.”
There was no doubt she’d become a teacher; the only question was where she would teach.
Before heading off to college, Iasiello had the opportunity to sit in on a class at Scarsdale High School to see how the classroom was run. It was then that she had her heart set on teaching in the Scarsdale School District.
After achieving her master’s from Mount Saint Mary College in special education and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Clemson University, Iasiello landed her first teaching job at Quaker Ridge Elementary School in Scarsdale.
Twenty years later, Iasiello, 46, is turning the page to the next chapter as Fox Meadow’s new assistant principal.
Iasiello said being a teacher at Quaker Ridge was about more than just teaching, it was about making a difference in her students’ lives.
“Any opportunity I had to be on a committee, I was a part of it,” she said.
Iasiello worked as a PTA teacher liaison, and has been expanding her responsibilities as an instructor leader for the last 10 years. She’s been part of the district and Quaker Ridge School’s Safety Coalition Teams, and what was most exciting, she said, was working with a cohort of teachers to deepen content knowledge in mathematics.
This past year, Iasiello also served as a lunch and recess supervisor, a position that meant Iasiello was responsible for the safety — both physically and emotionally — of students.
“That helped me in overseeing aides and communicating with parents,” she said. “All of these opportunities over the course of my time here helped me in the next step of my career.”
Iasiello is replacing Melissa Feinberg, who will become the principal at Fox Meadow School in July.
“[Iasiello] has been a Scarsdale faculty member for 20 years, teaching grades 1, 2 and 3 at Quaker Ridge Elementary School,” a letter from Superintendent Thomas Hagerman and Assistant Superintendent Drew Patrick reads. “She has taken leadership roles in a variety of areas, including lunch supervision and in our Metamorphosis work around mathematics instruction. Ms. Iasiello exhibits a vibrant passion for engaging with children, has built strong partnerships with parents and is deeply committed to the values and ideals of a Scarsdale Education for Tomorrow.”
Iasiello is a White Plains resident, but is embedded in the Scarsdale school community with three of her children enrolled in the district, and she said she is dedicated to learning more on how to make a difference.
“Students in the school started to see me as a leader,” she said. “Once I realized I could make a difference on a broader level, that started to drive me. I always considered myself to be a lifelong learner. Any opportunity that came my way, I took it.”
Like most others, Iasiello originally saw the school district as a strong academic system, but she’s found the bigger picture, focusing not just on academics, but on the whole child.
“It’s about the social emotional well-being,” she said. “We focus on that in the classroom. There’s testing and higher demands for these children, but having an open mind is just as important.”
She said because children learn differently, they deserve different opportunities to learn. And, part of education is to value academics and social emotional wellness equally.
For Iasiello, it meant giving her students the self-esteem they may have needed to work on a specific subject, or changing their mindsets about approaching something they’re intimidated about.
“We don’t want to define kids as smart or not smart, but to show they have room to grow,” she said.
As Iasiello steps into her new role, she said she’ll bring with her the varied experiences she had on various school committees and organizations, while learning new skills alongside Feinberg.
“In this role, I’ll have a lot of the same responsibilities, like overseeing aides, communicating with parents and ensuring safety,” as well as being a good problem solver, she said.
The most challenging thing for Iasiello, she said, would be getting used to the day-to-day tasks as an assistant principal, but she’s confident she’ll grow into those tasks while working alongside Feinberg.
Leaving Quaker Ridge School is a bittersweet moment for Iasiello.
“This is my 20th year,” she said. “It feels like a natural time in my career to turn the page and start the next chapter. There’s a feeling that [I] won’t see the other families anymore. But the exciting part is what’s to come.”