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Highland Elementary School Welcomes New Principal

Highland Elementary School (HES) is welcoming a new principal this year. Ian MacCormack—who will officially be taking the helm within the first few weeks of school—is replacing Matthew Darling, who resigned earlier this summer.


MacCormack comes to Highland from the Hudson City School District, where he worked as an associate principal at both the Intermediate School and the Junior High School before becoming the associate principal at M.C. Smith Elementary School in 2017. Prior to that he worked as a Grade 5 teacher, instructional technology coach, and summer school assistant principal in Virginia.


MacCormack is a Catskill resident and the father of two young daughters. He says that getting to know the students, staff, and community will be among his top priorities this year. “I am looking forward to building relationships and giving everyone the chance to get to know me,” he said.  


More long-term goals include increasing support for faculty and staff, strengthening family engagement, and continuing to enhance the school’s climate and culture.


“I want to make sure that every student feels safe, welcome, and respected, and has a strong sense of belonging to their school community,” he said. “The students come first. It is imperative that we stay student-centered and empower our teachers each and every day.”


MacCormack holds a Bachelor of Science in Childhood Education (Grades 1-6) from SUNY Plattsburgh; a Master of Science in Curriculum Development and Instructional Technology from the University at Albany; and a Master of Education in Educational Leadership from George Mason University.


The certified school building leader is passionate about technology and data, and is a huge proponent of social and emotional learning, restorative practices, and PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention and Support). He describes himself as fun-loving and energetic, and plans to be a visible presence throughout the hallways and classrooms of HES.


“I greatly appreciate the opportunity to join the administrative team at the Highland Central School District and am looking forward to a wonderful school year,” he said.


Highland Central School District Superintendent of Schools Joel Freer feels fortunate to have found such a qualified school administrator with extensive elementary-level teaching experience.


“Mr. MacCormack's understanding of emergent literacy standards and strategies align with the instructional goals of our Elementary School reading program,” said Freer. “Additionally, he possesses a keen sense of how students' developmental levels in mathematics necessitate the need to vary instructional approaches to ensure all students learn and grow each year. We are thrilled to have him on board!”