By Elana Amir and Sehyun Chung
Though many high school students are excited to exit their high school’s door upon graduating and never look back, this was not the case for Dr. Christopher Gitz. Now, twenty-seven years after graduating from South, Dr. Gitz has returned as the principal. Dr. Gitz has acquired many skills in his last twenty one years as an educator—eight as a math teacher and thirteen as an administrator— and is ready to give back to the South community that he grew up in.
Dr. Gitz majored in Accounting at Hofstra University after graduating from South in 1990. He worked as an accountant for a few years after college but decided to change career paths in search of a more exciting job. Since he already had many math credits, Dr. Gitz decided to go back to school to become a math teacher. After eight years as a math teacher, he then moved up to become supervisor of mathematics. His most recent position was principal of Lindenhurst High School, one that he held for three years.
After seeing an advertisement last spring announcing Ms. Elliot’s retirement, Dr. Gitz decided to apply for the position. Before being appointed principal, Dr. Gitz was interviewed by a selection committee. He also spent a portion of the day at South to meet various members of the school community. He even sat in on an improv class and participated in an exercise.
Although being a South High alum did not guarantee Dr. Gitz the job, he said it had its benefits. “Having knowledge of South and the district helped ease my anxiety [as I went] through the process,” he said. As an experienced administrator, Dr. Gitz already has a good idea about what he wants to accomplish this school year. “I think when you assume the position of principal, your major goal is to provide a safe, nurturing, and healthy school environment,” he said. Dr. Gitz speaks positively of the environment at South, specifically about the amount of effort teachers and students have put into the iPad initiative. He looks forward to future school events, including assemblies and sporting games. “This year I want to learn as much as I can about South High and experience all the great things the school has to offer,” he said.
Dr. Gitz is especially interested in understanding his students so he can make the best decisions for the school. He understands the difficulties of being a student in this day and age. One major difference between now and when he was a student is social media. “The students are faced with different academic and social pressures, specifically pressures via social media which can sometimes be unhealthy,” he said. He also acknowledged the increased competitiveness of the college application process but believes that South prepares students for life after high school very well.
During the first month of school alone, Dr. Gitz was very impressed with the spirit show at various events. Mentioning the pep rally, club fair, and homecoming football game, Dr Gitz said, “The involvement of students, it’s phenomenal, and I’ve never seen anything like it in the high schools I’ve worked in.” For instance, Dr. Gitz said he was impressed with how enthusiastic the seniors were on the first day of school.
After all these years away from South, Dr. Gitz said he is very excited to be back as the principal. “South High was always my home; this school district was my home. It felt good to come home back then, and it feels good to be home now.”