Student Success Top Priority of New AP

Student Success is Top Priority of New Assistant Principal

After eight years as a special education teacher in New York City, Rachel Dender is on the move to both the suburbs and to administration, as she was recently named the new assistant principal of Wantagh Elementary School.

Ms. Dender, who started in her new role on Aug. 30, comes to Wantagh with experience teaching kindergarten through fifth grade. Her background as a special education teacher in Manhattan is extensive, having worked in self-contained, integrated co-teaching and English as a new language classes. She has also taken on a variety of leadership roles such as managing individualized education programs for students, serving as a special education liaison to her local district and mentoring teachers and providing them with professional development opportunities. This past summer, she was assistant director of the Explorers Program for students in grades K-8 in the Plainview-Old Bethpage School District.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in inclusive education and special education from Syracuse University, a master’s degree in teaching English to speakers of other languages from Hunter College and an administrative certificate in building and district leadership from Stony Brook University. Ms. Dender is the founder of the Musical Movement, which produces cabaret fundraisers for non-profit organizations. 

In Wantagh, she is excited to work with Principal Dr. Randee Bonagura to support teachers in meeting the needs of the school’s roughly 600 students. She said she is thrilled to join a district where everyone is passionate about education and student success.

“It’s about every individual child and what their needs are,” Ms. Dender said. “That's important to me, and that’s important to the teachers, staff and families here at Wantagh Elementary School.”