On the Record: Interview with Our New Superintendent, Mr. David Schneider


Known simply to the freshmen as “The Superintendent,” Mr. David Schneider replaced Mr. Terrence Clark this year, a move affecting many Bethpagians. But lo, Mr. Schneider has an impressive résumé on leadership and administration—making him the perfect successor to Mr. Clark. Mr. Schneider has taken on Mr. Clark’s legacy and run with it, continuing the caring and sincere learning atmosphere that has come to define Bethpage High School for decades. We know him as the man behind the curtain of power, but now we’ve taken the microphone to him in this exclusive interview for The Eagle’s Cry. Enjoy.


The Eagle’s Cry: So, how’s your first year as superintendent going?


Mr. Schneider: It’s going very nicely so far; I’m very fortunate to have a great team of administrators, teachers, and wonderful students, along with a really supportive community. It’s very nice to have a transition the Board of Education supported by having me appointed very early, which allowed a lot of time last year with Mr. Clark to ease the transition. It’s been a wonderful experience so far, and that’s because we have a wonderful district surrounding us.


The Eagle’s Cry: How did your experiences as middle school principal influence you as an administrator?


Mr. Schneider: Well, in the middle school, we’re very focused on the whole child, which is why we have a team approach. Having been a middle school person for most of my career, it has really helped focus my attention on the teachers, our team, and the socio-emotional aspect of all of our students as well as the learning that needs to take place here. This, in turn, will help all of our students achieve academically. That has been my biggest influence: seeing student learning from that critical time, and seeing how difficult those years can be. I’ve used those experiences and influences when making critical decisions.


The Eagle’s Cry: What are the greatest factors towards your success?


Mr. Schneider: I would say that one of the greatest factors towards my success is the quality of mentorship I have received and not all of my peers have gotten that sort of experience. I am the product of two educators: my mother was an elementary school teacher, my father a very highly regarded high school principal. I’ve realized much later that my parents were preparing me for this job for more than I realized. Number two, I was fortunate to work in a number of really strong places but very different places, from my first experience as a teacher in a very large city high school of 4,400 students, to my experience in Half-Hollow Hills, Syosset, and Bellmore-Merrick. Each of those districts have very unique characteristics and challenges which broadened my view of what education might have to look like, when the time came for me to take over as an administrator and as a leader in a district. Knowing that every different place has different problems and creative solutions has shaped me as a leader.


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


Mr. Schneider: I feel certainly that being so close to Mr. Clark influenced me significantly in preparing me for this role specifically. I also take a lot of the feedback I’ve received from the administrative team here. I believe very, very heavily on a team approach and that the value of a team will bring us to greater heights, so I try very hard to be mindful of everyone’s opinion and use them all to help bring me to make a decision that can serve everyone’s needs and be effective in furthering the success of the students.


The Eagle’s Cry: Do you feel you’ve grown as a leader through this new position?


Mr. Schneider: Definitely have grown tremendously but I still have lots to learn and I’ve been very mindful of how things happening outside the school district can impact the learning of today as well as future generations.


The Eagle’s Cry: What is your favorite color?


Mr. Schneider: Blue! I’ve always been a blue person and it didn’t hurt coming to Bethpage, to see how the blue and gold matches up very well. Being a sports person, I also find many of my favorite sports teams end up being represented by blue.


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


Mr. Schneider: I’m a classic rock guy, certainly from my mom’s influence. I really like Crosby Stills and Nash, but that’s also transferred into Dave Matthews Band but I sure do listen to more James Taylor than most of the guys my age.


The Eagle’s Cry: Favorite movie?


Mr. Schneider: The movie I find that fits me perfectly is the movie Victory, with Sylvester Stallone and Pele. I am a soccer person for those who don’t know. I’ve played a long career and I still do; when I’m not playing I’m coaching on a large scene. Victory as it so happens has a very significant historical context of World War Two and centers around a soccer game so it has always been my favorite.


The Eagle’s Cry: Favorite flavor of ice cream?


Mr. Schneider: Straight Vanilla.


The Eagle’s Cry: Pats or Rams?


Mr. Schneider: I’m a really disappointed Jets fan, so I’ll have to say Rams.