The new principal at is a fast-talking, proud-to-be-Italian kind of guy who isn't afraid to admit he loves "guy movies."
Patch sat down with the vibrant and animated to learn his feelings about education, the community and the best ways to get students involved in the entire school experience.
Edgewater-Davidsonville Patch: Why did you pursue a career in education?
Marc Procaccini: I think there’s really several things that got me into education. One, it’s the family business. My father is a professor, my mother is a teacher in the county. Some people own shops, but it’s our family business. Two, I had a great wrestling coach and teacher at Old Mill High. I idolized him, wanted to be like him. I thought I was going to be a PE teacher, but then I found I had a knack working with kids who had disabilities. At that point, I was like, "I know what I want to do."
Edgewater-Davidsonville Patch: What excites you most about leading here at Southern High?
Procaccini: Definitely the community. I feel like Southern is really the last community-based school—where the school is the focus of the community. There's a lot of pride here at Southern High. Generations went here, so I know at this school there is a lot of community support. You don’t always get that at some of the other schools. The community is strong here and committed to the Southern. I've met with a couple leaders in the community and I can see their passion for Southern. It's inspiring to me.
Edgewater-Davidsonville Patch: What advice would you give first-year students at Southern High?
Procaccini: I really want to develop students as individuals—I want to craft them and I want to sculpt them, not produce like an assembly line. This is going to be an exciting year. We’re going to do some things that I don’t think any other schools have done before. We’re going to, in the classroom, delve deep into concepts and issues that lead to some rich discussions. I think kids are going to be challenged so there’s that piece. Kids are also going to be held responsible. I want kids to understand that there are certain behaviours that we can engage in outside of the school that we certainly can’t do out here. It doesn’t help the climate of a building when kids are getting away with stuff. We’re a small enough school that we can take the time to really craft and develop kids to be more socially conscious. Instruction is very important to me but more importanly, I want to develop young men and women who are going to make decisions in life and who are able to problem solve.
Edgewater-Davidsonville Patch: How do you plan to do that?
Procaccini: There are a couple things I'm implementing this year and we’ll see how it goes. It’s very difficult for kids in south county to stay after school. With 1,000 kids, you might have 400 kids playing fall sports, but what I want is for every kid in this building to be involved in a club, organization or activity which is going to meet once every other week. I want them to be more service oriented, and I want kids to run it, and the teachers be moderators. Let the kids really take ownership of it, and then have them reach out to individuals in the community that have a relation to their club. If we can bring people in, it’s a win win, it’s not as expensive and they’re still getting that practical application.
Edgewater-Davidsonville Patch: What is your favorite movie and why?
Procaccini: Shawshanks Redemption, that movie is great because it’s that sort of thing people probably think about ... You know, being falsely accused, in prison, and then sort of at the end there’s this redemption. It’s a great movie. Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins ... they're great.
Edgewater-Davidsonville Patch: How would you describe yourself?
Procaccini: I never want to be outworked. It’s my soul it’s what I pride myself on. I couldn’t imagine myself ever being lazy or unmotivated. I pride myself on working hard and accomplishing and being determined. I told teachers at the beginning of the year ... there’s nobody in this building that’ll be working harder than me.