Meet Dr. Finn!

Meet Dr. Finn!

Hana Zhang, Editor-In-Chief

I met with Dr. Finn who is the Superintendent of Schools. Dr. Finn joined the Carle Place community in 2010 as a member of the central office, but later became the superintendent in 2019 after Mr. Flatley, the previous superintendent, retired. I asked her a series of questions to help the community better understand her and the role she fills. 

     As soon as I entered her room, I was met with books lining the shelves, quotes pasted on the wall, and some Funko Pops on her shelves. Instantly I was met with glimpses of her personality. This caused me to want to learn more about her. I started by asking her how she got into becoming a superintendent. Dr. Finn never planned on working within a school setting. When she was in college, her father originally wanted her to be a lawyer, and she even dabbled in business and philosophy. When she finally settled on English and got a teaching degree, she worked a summer job at a nursery school. This is where she fell in love with teaching young children, especially teaching them reading. She depicts this moment in her life as a “happy accident”, because although she didn’t plan on it, this moment is how she found her true calling in life. When Dr. Finn recalls back on her time in school, she remembers she loved learning and reading, and even questioned why she didn’t recognize this love for teaching within her sooner. Since teaching at a nursery school, she has taught many different ages, although stating that she doesn’t really have a favorite. Regarding the other grade levels, she loves the younger grades because they’re exciting and love you back, and she loves the high schoolers because you can watch them grow up and shape themselves to be the people that they aspire to be. However, the younger kids will always have a soft spot in her heart, as she taught first graders for ten years, fourth grade for four years, and even kindergarten! Dr. Finn started teaching in 1985, and eventually delved into administration because she would be able to help a greater number of students, not just those in her classroom. Her journey in administration started off as an assistant principal, principal, working in the central office, and to a superintendent. From 2010-2015, she worked in the central office at Carle Place alongside Mrs. Fredericks, helping out with planning the curriculum. A couple of years after, she worked as a superintendent at a different school, then finally came back to Carle Place as our superintendent. 

     Because the 2020 school year ended in such an odd way, Dr. Finn wanted the Class of 2020’s 105 graduating seniors’ last moments in Carle Place High School to be memorable. In her speech, Dr. Finn created a playlist to highlight the good moments for the seniors, and to commemorate them on their journey as Frogs. She hopes to create a unique speech each year to recognize each unique class for their unique accomplishments. 

     As an English major, she appreciates how much you can do with the major. A major aspect she recognizes is that you can connect with anyone around the world through a book. In addition, every aspect of your life can tie back to English, even your math class! It has helped her better communicate, speak, and write to convey her ideas. She can accredit her passion for reading as a kid to having a factor in her becoming an English major, her love for reading always being a constant in her life.

     The hardships that Dr. Finn has faced vary on multiple levels. She explains that the job can get pretty lonely, as you don’t always have the camaraderie that the teachers have. In other words, teachers have each other meanwhile there is only one superintendent. For her, it’s important to talk to other superintendents from other schools and be surrounded by her team members. During the pandemic, getting together to talk was hard to do, but just as the students did, Dr. Finn, her team, and other superintendents all learned how to use Zoom to meet virtually. Regarding the decision to keep the school open and in-person, she considers it a gift, as we are fortunate enough to still be able to see each other face to face instead of seeing each other solely on computer screens. Relating to the hardship of the pandemic, Dr. Finn has a quote framed in her room that says “Everything you know is wrong.” It’s to remind her that she can’t assume she has all the answers. This connects to how she handled the pandemic because although she didn’t have all the answers, she could draw thoughts on the proceedings from teachers, or even students. Going through this pandemic should not be a one person job, instead it’s the group effort that will get us through. She explains that this pandemic has forced us to look inward and reflect on what are the necessities to life. By choosing to make school in-person, she recognizes the risk that comes along with it. However, with the help of her team, the faculty, students, and parents, she is trying to make Carle Place the safest it could be to prevent the spread of COVID. Dr. Finn is proud of the progress we have made in comparison to the 2019-2020 school year’s version of online learning to the start of the 2020 year’s online learning. We grew as a community in order to not let this pandemic defeat us. 

     Dr. Finn hopes to make her lasting mark here at Carle Place by setting goals for this small community. Constantly looking for ways to help students improve and find themselves is a significant aspect to her. Graduating “really good people” is important to her. She doesn’t want to see growth only in the context of academics, but also a growth in the system as a whole. She hopes to improve the social, emotional, and mental help programs on a school-district-wide scale. School should not only try to help students learn academically, but should also try to help them learn and help themselves mentally. The stigma on mental health has drastically changed over the years, so accommodating for those changes is an important aspiration for her. By recognizing that students feel the immense and overwhelming pressure to make themselves seem “perfect” for the eyes of society, and especially college, Dr. Finn hopes to find a way to help students deal with these societal pressures that are put upon them. She also hopes to make improvements to the building itself.  

 Dr. Finn enjoys the small, loving community that Carle Place has built up. She grew up in a small town environment where everyone knew everyone. She always knew she wanted to make differences in people’s lives, and being a superintendent is the perfect way to achieve that. Even as a teacher, she knew that she found her calling. A young man, who she taught for first grade, once emailed her that he appreciated her, as she taught him how to read. Having an impact on the lives of the nation’s future is what she always wanted to do. Dr. Finn hopes to keep pushing herself to reach the pinnacle of the influence she can have.