New Principal, New Life

Mr. Frankel makes it a point to walk around the hallways to interact with students and staff.

Life at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts (FSSA) goes beyond the books and grades. Inside the eye-catching building lies a family brought together through talent. This year, FSSA welcomed its newest member to the family, principal Gideon Frankel.

Taking on this new role is far more demanding than most would think. Prior to becoming principal, Mr. Frankel was already glad to have had the opportunity to work with Sinatra students as a teacher.

“I worked as a film teacher at the 2011 Summer Arts Institute which takes place at the school in the month of July,” said Mr. Frankel.

Mr. Frankel was also a full-time film teacher at FSSA before leaving the school to get his Assistant Principal license. He served as an AP at Bronxdale High School, but came back to Sinatra during the 2016-2017 school year as an assistant principal.

Once he found out he would be the new principal, life only got better for Mr. Frankel.

“I was thrilled to get this news as I love the school and all of our students and staff. I am grateful to have this opportunity to lead such a wonderful group of people,” he said.

Mr. Frankel certainly breaks the office-work stereotype. When it comes to finding ways to further improve the school, he does a lot more work than sit in a comfortable leather chair in front of an office desk. His passion and care for his students is reflected through the variety of his daily activities.

“The biggest challenge is balancing the office work of strategically planning school events and initiatives with being in classrooms and being present in the hallways and around the school,” Mr. Frankel said. “I spend a lot of hours at work, but I love being at Sinatra for events and performances so the extra time put in does not feel like work.”

He says he tries to be out of the first floor principal’s office and around the school walking the hallways and in classrooms as much as possible between 11am and 2pm.

“At 2:40pm I always try my best to be at the front door for dismissal and to wish students a good day. This is also a highlight of my day because I see all of our students and am able to connect with them and have conversations to get to know them better,” he added.

When it feels like life is too much, he knows exactly how to bounce right pack up.

“If I am having a tough day I will take a few minutes and go into a music or dance class just to get re-energized and inspired for the rest of the day. Seeing students having fun and being excited in their arts class is a great reminder of why we are all here and is all I need to turn a bad day around,” Mr. Frankel said.

Although it is just the middle of the school year, Mr. Frankel already has a full calendar for the students and staff to look forward to.

“My priorities and goals are to expand AP classes, make all classes more interesting and challenging for students, collaborate more with students and the student government to plan events and school activities, to collaborate more with teachers and involve them in decision making and to raise money for the school so that we can have the best student programs and productions in the city,” he said.

After a long busy day of important calls between meetings and scheduling school events, Mr. Frankel is able to come home to a loving family of his own.

“I am also grateful to have such a loving wife and daughter who support me and put up with not seeing me so often because of the demands of the job. I have a 3-year-old daughter so I try to be home by 8pm for her bed time as much as possible. Family is so important. It is what keeps you grounded and humble throughout life and I am so lucky to have such a wonderful family,” he said.

– by Isabel Donado  ‘18