On the Record: Interview with Our New Principal, Mr. Nicholas Jantz


This past week, two Eagle’s Cry interviewers had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Bethpage’s new principal, Mr. Jantz. He is the former assistant principal of JFK Middle School and is now taking the reins, as Mr. Spence has moved on to the position of Assistant Superintendent. BHS students seem to agree Mr. Spence did a great job as principal, but we are certainly excited to have Mr. Jantz bring his experiences to this position and our school community.


The Eagle’s Cry: Where did you go to college?


Mr. Jantz: I went to St. Peter’s College in Jersey City, New Jersey.


The Eagle’s Cry: What was your major there?


Mr. Jantz: I was a history major with a minor in secondary-education.


The Eagle’s Cry: Where were you born?


Mr. Jantz: I was born right here in Nassau County;however, I grew up in Wantagh.


The Eagle’s Cry: What did you do before you became the middle school’s Assistant Principal?


Mr. Jantz: I was a seventh and eighth grade social studies teacher at Woodland Middle School in East Meadow.


The Eagle’s Cry: How will your experiences in the middle school influence/inform your decisions in administration of the high school?


Mr. Jantz: What made this position so attractive was my familiarity with every student in grades 9-12 from their time in the middle school. I am also familiar with their parents, which I think is a big part of the job. This familiarity has given me a jump-start that others might not have had in the position. This allows us to deal with any potential issues on a deeper level.


The Eagle’s Cry: What type of issues do you typically see?


Mr. Jantz: All students, at some time or another, go through things—whether at home or in school—which can impact academic performance. Our goal as a staff is to address these issues so students can reach their potentials.


The Eagle’s Cry: What are your aspirations as the new principal?


Mr. Jantz: Well, to be here as long as I can be! I’d really like to settle in and help future generations of Bethpage kids graduate high school and go on to college and careers. I’d love to see them come back to the community, like they always seem to do—which is a very good thing. I’m proud to be a part of such a tight-knit community.


The Eagle’s Cry: Hobbies outside of work?


Mr. Jantz: Lotta family stuff—I have a wife and two children, they’re six and four… I also have three dogs, two cats, and a goldfish, so I’m quite busy! We also own an old house my wife and I enjoy working on.


The Eagle’s Cry: What do you think the biggest challenges of being a principal will be?


Mr. Jantz: Well, I think that there’s always going to be challenges, but that’s part of what excites me so much about this position. I look forward to helping students excel here and through the college and career process. I absolutely loved working in a middle school, but when kids are leaving at thirteen or fourteen I was always jealous of [my] friends in the high school positions because they got to see you two [The Eagle’s Cry reporters] and all the other students become young adults and move onto college and their adult lives. So I’m very excited to see that process through.


The Eagle’s Cry: Favorite bands/genre of music?


Mr. Jantz: I guess it’s best classified as classic indie rock. My favorite band of all time is probably a band called Fugazi…or maybe Sonic Youth, or Pavement. This band called The National is very good…I just saw a band called Beach House over the summer. Yeah, a lot of old and new music nobody knows.


The Eagle’s Cry: Thoughts on country music?


Mr. Jantz: Not to offend fans of new country music, but I like artists like Johnny Cash much better.


The Eagle’s Cry: Favorite movie?


Mr. Jantz: That’s a tough one, I got a lot, but my favorites are probably Waiting for Guffman or Rushmore.


The Eagle’s Cry: What are your greatest professional strengths and your biggest failure?


Mr. Jantz: I think the key to anything is getting everyone moving in the same direction; that’s when good things happen. As far as a failure, probably as a first-year teacher. You’re making all these lesson plans and you think they’re great. Then you have twenty-four kids looking at you, thinking “what is this guy talking about?” So I just think that’s part of the learning process as an educator.


The Eagle’s Cry: Greatest professional achievement?


Mr. Jantz: It absolutely has got to be getting this position. I have been humbled and honored to be here.


The Eagle’s Cry: The three greatest factors to your current success?


Mr. Jantz: Everyday you need to come ready to do your job the best you can and to be reflective. The key is to do right by kids and good things happen.


The Eagle’s Cry: Who inspires you and why?


Mr. Jantz: My dad, definitely. He’s a Vietnam Vet who went through tough times and ultimately achieved a lot personally and professionally. He raised my family members to work hard, to take risks, and to never be afraid. I think his experiences have definitely impacted my family in a positive way.


The Eagle’s Cry: In what aspects of your leadership can you still grow?


Mr. Jantz: I think there’s always room for growth—everywhere. My goal everyday is to keep growing and getting better, which I’ve learned as I have gotten older, and I try to teach my kids that. The person I was five years ago, twenty years ago, they’re very different from the person I am today. Everyday you have to learn from your mistakes and become a better person.


The Eagle’s Cry: Have you learned all of the names of the students? Mr. Spence knew everyone.


Mr. Jantz: That was very impressive. Now ninth and tenth grade I’m pretty good—eleventh grade still pretty good, but twelfth I need some refreshers. This is no joke; I actually keep the yearbook right here so I can look back. [Not knowing people’s names] drives me nuts; I’m a name person too. I find it’s the easiest way to connect with people. If I don’t know their names, I tend to look back in the yearbooks and put the name to the face.


The Eagle’s Cry: If there was a school mutiny, who would be the most prepared?


Mr. Jantz: Mr. Tocco, definitely—he’s done a triathlon! But also Mr. Healy would be a great PR person. Between the three of us, I am confident we would be able to solve any problem.