The Valley Stream Central High School District is proud to announce it has hired new principals at Valley Stream Central and South high schools for the 2023-2024 school year. The District has selected Candace Hugee as principal of Central High School and Matthew Swinson as principal of South High School. They replace Central’s Dr. Joseph Pompilio and South’s Maureen Henry, both of whom are retiring.
Candace Hugee comes to Central from the Urban Assembly School in Brooklyn, where she has been principal since 2016. “I have always been a lover of learning,” she said. “High school is a time for students to explore and discover what their interests are in a structured place with educators who can really steer them through the process in a way that makes them feel supported.”
Ms. Hugee received her master of science in adolescent urban education from Long Island University and her master of education leadership from Brooklyn College. She also received certificates in diversity, equity and inclusion in the workforce and women’s entrepreneurship from the University of South Florida and Cornell University, respectively. She has 18 years of experience working in the education field.
At Central, Ms. Hugee said she looks to continue Dr. Pompilio’s legacy of preserving high standards for students and staff; building relationships with staff members, parents and local businesses; and ensuring that the school remains a dignified place for learning. “It is important to maintain high expectations for students and make sure they have rigorous opportunities to interact with instruction and show their learning,” Ms. Hugee said. “We will continue the work of maintaining culturally relevant pedagogy and creating an environment at which our students feel heard, seen and loved.”
Matthew Swinson comes to South from Roosevelt High School, at which he has been principal since
2021. At South, Mr. Swinson said he wants to start by building relationships immediately with staff, students, their families, and the larger community.
“I want stakeholders to know that I am passionate about students’ academic, social and emotional development, as well as assisting my colleagues to shape students’ paths for their futures,” he said. “My goal is to engage students in a way where they know they can trust me, and that it is ok to make a mistake as mistakes are about growth. I want to be considered a resource to every student, whether they are college bound, a student-athlete, musician, or wish to pursue a vocation.”
Mr. Swinson said a priority will be to include all stakeholders in creating an environment and culture where students feel safe each day. “I enjoy and appreciate working with this age group,” he said. “I have always had a connection with students, and I love playing that role in their lives.”
Mr. Swinson has over 20 years of experience in public education. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Business from the University of Maine, Master of Arts in Elementary Education from Adelphi University, and a Certificate of Advanced Study in Education Administration from Stony Brook University.
“This is a very exciting time for Valley Stream South and Central high schools,” said Dr. Wayne Loper, superintendent of schools. “Ms. Hugee and Mr. Swinson come to us with extensive experience in public education administration and have shown a great deal of enthusiasm in taking on their new roles. We are not only confident in their abilities but also confident that the South and Central communities will welcome them with open arms.”