Maria Romain works at her office in Clintondale Middle School.

Maria Romain works at her office in Clintondale Middle School.

Photo by Dean Vaglia

Romain becomes Clintondale Middle School principal

By: Dean Vaglia | Fraser-Clinton Chronicle | Published July 14, 2022


CLINTON TOWNSHIP — There’s a new face at the head of Clintondale Middle School. Maria Romain, the former assistant principal at Clintondale High School, is the new middle school principal.

“I’m excited about this opportunity,” Romain said.

Having been with Clintondale Community Schools since 2021 and appointed to the position on June 13, Romain said she has always been passionate about education.

“I was that student that was upset if there was a snow day because I did not want to miss school,” Romain said.

While studying at Wayne State University for an engineering degree — a path she took on the suggestion of a high school counselor based on her strength in math and science — Romain worked an internship at the General Motors Technical Center in Warren. Coming in at a transitional period, Romain helped older employees in the design center adapt to the changing workplace by teaching them how to use computers and software.

“They were used to drafting boards … and they had transitioned over to technology, and there was a software called ‘Unigraphics,’” Romain said. “I was trained on it, and I caught onto it very well, but they didn’t and actually some of them started to retire because they didn’t like the transition. To try to retain them, I would walk around to each cubicle and try to help them out. That wasn’t a part of my job description; it was something I just elected to do.”

But Romain did not enjoy being an engineer and, after three years in engineering, she decided to change majors to pursue a career in teaching. Romain earned her bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Wayne State in 2002 and her master’s degree in teaching from Marygrove College in 2004.

“When I got into education, I felt like a fish out of water and I got thrown back into the water,” Romain said.

Romain began her education career in Eastpointe schools 2002, first as a student teacher and then teaching math at the middle school level. After taking a sabbatical to start a family and holding student-facing positions at Macomb Community College and Parkway Christian School,

Romain took on her first academic administration position in 2018 as the dean of students for Macomb Christian Schools.

“After working as the dean of students, I fell in love with administration, and I wanted to continue to pursue that,” Romain said.

Her time with Macomb Christian ended when the district closed in 2019, leading Romain to take an academic coaching position until she became Clintondale High School’s assistant principal in 2021.

Romain’s top goal as the new principal is to rebuild the positive culture within the middle school’s students and faculty, as well as to further student achievement.

“I’m really going to focus on rebuilding that positive culture in the school,” Romain said. “One thing that I believe that will help accomplish that goal is to drive the point that we are all a team. There is no one person that can get us there, so if we can see that we are all working as a team and we look at our mission, look at our vision and we all get on the same page and work collectively, I think that is going to help build a positive culture.”

Romain stressed the importance of having a “student-centered” mentality as an organization.

“If, at any point, you take your eyes off the needs of the student, then we have gotten off track,” Romain said. “My goal is to constantly remind the staff that we are here for the students and we want to offer them our best. Anything short of our best means we failed the students.”

Romain wants the student experience to be an uplifting one, with students feeling a sense of pride, community and belonging upon walking in. This involves having a positive staff presence around the school, with teachers greeting students and getting to know them.

“We are asking them, ‘How was your day, how was your weekend?’” Romain said. “Just really building relationships with them. I think that when we build relationships with our students and they see that we genuinely care, then I believe that causes them to become more invested in their education.”

Romain also plans on being “readily available” to students and to parents, staying long beyond the final bell to make time for appointments and conversations.

“I am not one to walk out the door when the bell rings,” Romain said. “I do know that there will be issues with parents and students that I may have to address, as well as staff, so I plan to work a normal school day and beyond, within reason.”

Clintondale Community Schools is scheduled to begin its 2022-2023 year on Sept. 6.