May 1st is National School Principal’s Day. Teachers and students at Buena Regional Middle School in New Jersey decided to do something special for their principal, Karen Santoro.
All 400 students and teachers gathered in the gym and surprised Santoro as she walked in. The assistant principal gave Santoro flowers and a plaque as everybody watched.
Santoro has worked in the education field for more than 30 years. She started her career as a biology teacher in the late 1980s. Through the years, she worked her way up to becoming a vice principal. In 2011, she took over as principal of Buena Regional Middle School.
“She really has her pulse on the school, the staff and students. The respect she has incredible,” said David Cappuccio, who is the superintendent of the Buena Regional School District.
Adriana Foschini is a teacher and organized the event. She says that Santoro is one of the most remarkable principals she’s worked with in her more than 20 years of teaching.
“She just stands out above the crowd,” she said. “She’s fair, she’s kind, she’s responsible, she gets the job done and she loves all the kids here at the school.”
Santoro’s path wasn’t always easy. One of her sons passed away in 2012 after doctors diagnosed him with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Santoro says that even though she couldn’t control his medical issues, she could control the way she treated others.
“Everything in life that happens to you is based on how you treat people,” she said. “I always try to treat all of my students with love and respect and I always try to keep a positive attitude and I think it makes their day better, it makes the teachers day better and it makes my day better.”