Come September, students and staff arriving at Onteora Middle School will be greeted by a new face: James DiDonna, who will be taking the helm as the school’s principal. Mr. DiDonna, whose start date is August 29, will be replacing Jennifer O’Connor, who is retiring after a 14-year career at Onteora (including nearly two years as an assistant principal at the High School).
The Board of Education approved Mr. DiDonna’s appointment at its August 16 meeting.
“We are thrilled to be welcoming Mr. DiDonna to our team,” said Superintendent Victoria McLaren, who noted that Ms. O’Connor will continue working at the Middle School through September to help ensure a smooth transition in leadership. “I expect that his extensive experience at this level and wide-ranging skill set in areas such as curriculum development, school safety, and professional development will make him a real asset to our school district.”
Mr. DiDonna comes to Onteora from the Germantown Central School District, where he served as principal of the Junior/Senior High School for five years. Previously, he was a Middle School principal for the Pine Plains Central School District, an assistant principal at Ellenville High School, and an Elementary and Middle School teacher for the Kingston City School District.
A graduate of Kingston High School, Mr. DiDonna received a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and a Master of Science in Education from Fordham University. He also earned a Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Leadership from the College of Saint Rose.
Mr. DiDonna is looking forward to assuming his new post. “Onteora is a great community,” he said. ”It has a great reputation, and I hope to be a positive influence on students and staff moving forward. My leadership philosophy is to be supportive, and to work together to build upon the wonderful practices already in place.”
The veteran educator lives in Hurley with his wife, son, and daughter. When he is not at work, he enjoys hiking, camping, and skiing in the Catskills as well as traveling with his family. He is also an avid golfer and mountain biker.