East Syracuse Tom Colabufo said it has been his “dream job” to be an elementary principal working with younger students. As the new principal at Woodland Elementary School, he is ready to lead and make a difference.
“I’ve taken a long road with a natural progression to get here,” Colabufo said.
He has served as assistant principal at Oneida High School since 2007, and spent eight years as a social studies teacher at Eagle Hill Middle School in Manlius before then. He began his career teaching American studies at multiple grade levels for two years in Dublin, Ireland, including elementary students.
After working extensively in the high school and middle school environment, he felt a tug to return to elementary students, an age group he enjoyed in Ireland.
“I like the parent involvement at this age. I love how elementary children are excited and willing to try new things,” Colabufo said. “A child’s social-emotional development, their reading patterns, study patterns and organizational patterns all start at this age.”
He said working at the elementary, middle and high school levels gave him insight into the needs of students.
“My experience is a snapshot of the entire course, so I know what is down the road for these elementary students and what they are going to face,” he said. “At a very young age, I think we can put support in place to keep them on the right path to success.”
Colabufo earned his Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Administration from SUNY Oswego. His master’s degree is in secondary education, while his bachelor’s in social studies education, both from Le Moyne College.
He looks forward to applying his education, skills and experience and has also met with Woodland’s retired Principal, Lee Carulli, to ensure a smooth transition.
“I want to get to know all the stakeholders. I want to work collaboratively with staff and the PTO. I want students to feel safe and eager to learn something new every day. I want the staff to be excited, just like the students, and help create a great atmosphere,” Colabufo said