New principal to greet McGregor students this fall

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published August 6, 2014

Dave Pontzious will replace Sharen Howard, who retired, as principal of McGregor Elementary School.

ROCHESTER — There is still a month of summer left, but new McGregor Elementary School Principal Dave Pontzious is already busy preparing for the upcoming school year.

Although Pontzious — who previously served as principal of North Hill Elementary School — officially takes over as principal of McGregor Aug. 1, he has been at the school getting acclimated since July 21. He succeeds Sharen Howard, who retired as principal of McGregor at the end of the last school year.

An 18-year veteran educator, Pontzious spent 15 years in the Royal Oak School District, initially serving as a social studies teacher at Dondero and Kimball high schools, where he taught for eight years beginning in 1996. He also coached JV baseball and swimming at the high school level. Pontzious went on to serve as an assistant principal at two middle schools within the district, and in 2009, he was promoted to principal of Oakland Elementary School, which district officials say was a high-poverty, federal Title 1 program school.

In 2011, he began his tenure in Rochester Community Schools district, when he was named principal of North Hill Elementary School.

“Rochester has an incredible reputation, not only throughout the county, but the state,” he said. “I’ve said this many times before: I wanted to play for the New York Yankees of schools in Michigan, and Rochester is that school district.”

This year, Pontzious said, district administrators approached him to see if he would be interested in assuming the role of principal of McGregor.

“I said, ‘Yeah. I am a team player. If the district needs me to be there, I’m right on board,’” he said.

Pontzious said he plans to be an extremely hard-working, highly visible principal who works diligently to build professional and meaningful relationships with all the stakeholders within the school community.

“We’re hoping to build upon the great things that are already occurring with the student culture here. What we are going to focus on is building an outstanding student culture here for our students — one that is conducive to meeting the needs of all students, both academically, socially and emotionally,” he said.

He plans to host meet-and-greet sessions with McGregor parents, students and staff in August.

RCS Superintendent Robert Shaner said in a statement that Pontzious is the kind of “visionary leader” that McGregor needs in order to make strong academic improvement.

“Since coming to Rochester, Mr. Pontzious has demonstrated outstanding leadership at the school and district levels. He has a relentless focus on serving students, families and staff. I am confident Mr. Pontzious will bring years of outstanding and visionary leadership to the McGregor Elementary School community,” he said in a statement.