New Principal Encouraging Hurricane Pride at NBHS
Joseph Pinchera has been on the job just a little over a month as principal at New Britain High School, but he is already changing its culture.
“I just know that with the combination of high expectations academically and high expectations for our staff and students that we are going to get the graduation rate up to 80 percent over 5 years,” said Pinchera, who started his new job on July 1.
“Currently, it hovers right around 70 percent and so I am looking to make a 2 percent gain each year” over five years, added Pinchera. “And I really think with the proper hiring and the proper planning and proper professional development there is no doubt in my mind that we are going to get there.”
An employee of New Britain schools for 16 years, Pinchera, 41, was most recently the Associate Principal at the high school for the last two years; prior to that, he was assistant principal at Pulaski for two years and was a physical education and health teacher for 12 years (at Slade and Pulaski) before becoming an administrator.
The new principal vows to make NBHS an academic destination that is welcoming to all. “I really want people to understand that moving forward New Britain High School is going to become a place that is inviting to all different diverse members of the community and it is going to become a place where people choose New Britain High School over the magnet school,” said Pinchera.
“It is very important for me to get the word out that we have so much to offer here,” he continued. “And I challenge anyone to come in and before making a judgment of NBHS, come see what we have, including our various academies and our music department.”
For Pinchera, becoming principal at the high school felt like the next natural step in his career progression. And, being in the same building he has worked in for the last two years has helped with Pinchera’s transition to his new job.
“The district is starting to move in the direction of building our own capacity amongst the staff we have,” he said. “One of my things is restoring Hurricane pride back into this high school and it is very important for me and the district I believe to hire within and I think [Superintendent] Nancy Sarra being a homegrown person herself shares that same values as well.”
Pinchera doesn’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon. “My goal moving forward—I hope to be in this position for a very long time because I am truly blessed with this opportunity; I take it very seriously. I have been given this responsibility and I am going to give it all I have for years to come,” said Pinchera.
“I consider myself a person who really likes to look at different ways to get things done and not necessarily do things because we have always done it that way,” he added. “And that is an essential part when we are hiring people—we really want to make sure that they are following that same philosophy. It’s good to have those different points of view.”
Sarra said that Pinchera is “the right person to lead NBHS for years to come” and cited his “unique ability to build relationships with all students, his collaborative leadership skills, and willingness to collaborate with others,” in a school district press release announcing the new principal’s hiring in June.
“I look forward to working with Joe and his team to re-imagine New Britain High School, which will ultimately result in increased student and staff engagement,” added Sarra.
Pinchera talked about his desire to “reach not only our children academically but reach the whole child and their social/emotional needs as well—that’s a big piece as far as my planning goes.”
Pinchera also wants to “make sure that all of our students are reached,” adding, “We have so many programs for our top 10 percent students and we have a plethora of programs for our lower level learners, but sometimes we forget the ‘middle children’ who are kind of cruising along and are doing well. We have to make sure we reach all of the kids.”
He also touched on safety. “Obviously safety is always a number 1 concern so I am working closely with security and my staff to make sure that students and staff are feeling good about coming to the building every single day,” he explained.
With the new school year just weeks away, high school students and their families will soon have several opportunities to meet the newest head Hurricane, starting with freshman orientation Tuesday, Aug. 16 at 10 a.m. in the NBHS auditorium.
“That’ll be the first time the incoming 9th graders will get to meet me and then after that we have a good amount of evening events planned,” said Pinchera.