Garden City Schools Welcome New Coordinator

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The Garden City Public Schools recently introduced Christina Cardella as the new
coordinator of mathematics and STEAM. Cardella, appointed on Aug. 18, takes on the responsibilities previously held by Stu Dods, who retired earlier this summer. The position has been expanded to include the aspects of science, technology, engineering and the arts.

Cardella comes to Garden City from Massachusetts, where she served as a STEM coordinator in the Chelsea Public Schools. Prior to that, she was director of math and business in the Melrose Public Schools and has many years of experience as a high school mathematics teacher in the Belmont and Medford school districts. She has
received the Partners in Excellence Teacher award from Mass Insight based on her success teaching AP Statistics, the Staff and Teacher Appreciation and Recognition award from Belmont High School parents and several other honors from students.

In her recent roles, Cardella was instrumental in establishing a vision for math, science and technology education. She helped her districts plan and implement new programs and curricula as well as course offerings, professional development opportunities and pathways for students to maximize their achievement. She also
supported the creation and analysis of district benchmark assessments.
She has led and overseen various staff members and teams, and has presented at national and regional conferences.

Being apart of the district is not too intimidating for Cardella, as she is a Long Island native. She spent her education years in Suffolk County.

“I actually grew up in West Islip,” she said. “It’s not a culture shock to me. In fact, I’m back home. Nassau County is a little bit different. I’ve always heard about Garden City and how great of a school district it is. I was very excited to get the opportunity to work at Garden City. I’m very honored that they’re welcoming
me there.”

Cardella’s position is new as it serves grades K-12. She said she is looking forward to learning all she can about the district.

“I’ve already met wonderful teachers and adminsitrators,” Cardella said. “I can tell there is so much dedication and talent here. I’m very grateful to be apart of that team.”

In Cardella’s position, she will lead and support a bunch of different areas within the school district. Cardella said her position’s main goal is to help create programs that
students will enjoy.

“What we do in our role is we lead and support cuurriculum, instruction, assessment and professional development,” she said. “We make those decisions around what
curriculum we want students to engage in, how the department will teach, best instructional practices, how we are going to assess and providing professional development to teachers and leaders and how we can make it happen.”

Before the pandemic, going to a new place to work was simple, as you were able to interact with anyone and everyone you came across. Whether that’s a handshake or a hug. Althought this year brings new challenges, she said she continues to have a positive outlook.

“You can still get to know people, even if it’s from six feet apart and with a mask on,” Cardella said. “Luckily it hasn’t been the case where I can’t build those relationships. Everybody has been super friendly and very welcoming. I feel that I have acclimated well.”

Cardella said incorporating the arts brings a whole new experience for student learning.

“The big idea is that you take an interdisciplinary approach and connect multiple disciplines,” she said. “It could be anything. If you’re painting a portrait and you want to connect that to math, you think about proportional reasoning and symmetry. It’s about connecting the content of different disciplines together so the student’s
don’t see them as separate.”

She hopes that whatever is to come regarding STEAM programs for the district in the future, she will be sure to take into account what makes sense for the students and the district overall.

“I have to see what has already been done and where the opportunities are,” Cardella said. “However, I did hear that the district is creating new learning commons at the middle school and a new research space at the high school. Once we can collaborate like we used to, those types of spaces [can] foster the collaborative nature I am looking for in STEAM.”

Cardella holds an MA in education with a concentration in math from Salem State College and obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics and education from Bucknell University. She minored in Spanish and completed part of her studies at the University of Sevilla, Spain.

“The district is excited to welcome Ms. Cardella and expand this position to add the STEAM components,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kusum Sinha said. “We look forward to the contributions that she will make to our students and programs.”

—Additional information provided by The Garden City Union Free School District 

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