Mark Feldman’s not a new face to the State College Area School District.
But come next school year, he’ll be a new face at Mount Nittany Elementary School.
Last week, the nine-member school board approved Feldman as the school’s principal starting July 1, replacing Deb Latta who’s retiring at the end of the month.
Latta has been with the district since 1979.
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Feldman, the assistant principal at Mount Nittany Middle School, said it’s a decision that’s “intimidating,” but something he thinks he’s ready for.
“I’m looking forward to working in the district more, and move to a different venue,” he said. “What’s nice is that the elementary (school) feeds into the middle school, so it’s nice to stay on the same campus and be a part of priming students for the next step to the middle school.”
Mount Nittany Middle and Elementary schools are located on Brandywine Drive across the street from each other.
Feldman has been an educator for 26 years
“It’s an intimidating move because I’ve worked in secondary schools for 26 years, but I’m ready for the challenge,” Feldman said.
When Latta announced her retirement in October, Feldman said it was then he knew a position would become available.
Opportunities such as these don’t come up every year, and I knew I was at a point in my career I was ready for a change.
Mark Feldman, newly named Mount Nittany Elementary School principal
“It was always an option, and knew it would be a wonderful opportunity,” Feldman said. “I did a lot of thinking, and consulted with my family and co-workers and took into consideration all the pros and cons. … Opportunities such as these don’t come up every year, and I knew I was at a point in my career I was ready for a change.”
Feldman moved to Centre County in 1990 after graduating from college, he said.
For the first 14 years, he was a math teacher at Bellefonte Area High School.
He said he then applied for a job at the State College Area High School South Building where he taught math for a year, before getting his state principal certification through Penn State.
He then became the assistant principal at Bellefonte Area Middle School for about a year before going back to the classroom to teach eighth-grade math at Park Forest Middle School.
In 2010, he became an acting assistant principal at Mount Nittany Middle School before being named full-time assistant principal in 2012.
“It’s been a lot of back and forth, but it’s been worth it and a lot of fun,” Feldman said. “There were times I thought I was ready to be in more of a leadership-type role, but got there, and realized the classroom is where I needed to be most. I knew there was still work to be done, and really loved teaching. But then there was a time I knew assistant principal and now principal was the right fit.”
One of his long-term goals is to create more collaboration with Mount Nittany Elementary and Middle schools.
Mount Nittany Middle and Elementary schools are located on the same campus
“We’re in a unique setup here with both schools within walking distance, and hope to do more to connect the two schools,” he said. “Of course, I’m going to work closely with teachers and administrators. I’ll have a lot to learn about working at the elementary school level.”
He said the main differences are disciplinary actions.
For the next couple of weeks, however, Feldman said he’ll finish his term in the middle school.
“It’s going to be busy,” he said. “We’re closing up with committee meetings, and reports, and looking to hire a bunch of positions. I want to do as much as I possibly can to help with the transitions. It’s not just a transition for me into the elementary school, but a transition for the middle school, as well.”
Feldman said he plans to also meet with Latta before the end of the school year.
“I’ll take whatever tips I can, but I’m just very excited for this opportunity,” he said.