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Brian A. Moore: Indian River Intermediate’s new principal

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PHILADELPHIA — Once a month, Indian River Intermediate School Principal Brian A. Moore is a superhero.

Committed to helping students learn by having fun, the building’s principal of one week is instigating activities such as dressing up as the Avengers with other teachers for high-achieving math students.

“As building principal, you have to be the lead learner,” he said. “Years ago, being a building principal was about managing a building and providing discipline. Now, it’s different than that.”

Mr. Moore, previously the assistant principal, replaced Lana J. Taylor, who retired the last day of school before winter break. Kristen A. Freeman, a former West Carthage fourth-grade teacher, replaced him as assistant principal.

“I hope they don’t notice much of a change,” Mr. Moore said about the students. “They’ll miss Ms. Taylor, but she will never be forgotten.”

Mr. Moore started his career in education at the district. With a bachelor’s degree in political science from SUNY Potsdam and a master’s degree in counseling and human development from St. Lawrence University, Canton, he served as Indian River Middle School’s counselor for 10 years.

As he became interested in administrative work, he worked as dean of students at Evans Mills Primary for a year before becoming the intermediate school’s assistant principal. He has worked at the intermediate school for the past two and a half years.

He also received a certificate of advanced graduate studies in educational leadership from the University of New England.

Taking Ms. Taylor’s previous job was more than just taking over her office.

“Lana is an iconic administrator, and the last thing I would want to do is change the things she did so wonderfully,” he said. “In order to meet the challenge for our schools, we need to create an environment where everyone feels they can take on those challenges.”

For teachers, some of the newest challenges include the professional performance review and the state Common Core initiative.

“For a lot of our veteran teachers, they feel like first-year teachers again because they’ve really had to look at how they do their job,” he said.

The Common Core also means students have to boost their test scores. After finding that students were struggling with basic math skills, several teachers began dressing up as the Avengers once a month to reward classrooms that had the most “Avenger minutes” on their math calendar, he said.

As fifth-grade teacher Kyle C. Clark, who was dressed as Spider-Man, art teacher Timothy Lehman, dressed as the Hulk, and Mr. Moore as Captain America walked down the hall Friday, students passing by the three called out to them enthusiastically. Some even jokingly tried to reveal who the teachers were.

“We all face challenges,” Mr. Moore said. “It’s important to enjoy your job, not just for the kids, but for the staff, too.”

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