With handcuffs hanging on the wall next to his desk, stepping into the office of the new assistant principal Christian Mercurio can be a little intimidating. But despite his time spent as a police officer, Mercurio does not want his students to think of him as just a disciplinarian.
Having spent the last 14 years at Somers High School, 10 of which he served as the director of the Somers Alternative High School, Mercurio said he is excited to bring his experience with him to his new school.
“It's going to take a little bit of time to get acclimated to the building, but obviously you want to bring about a little bit of change,” Mercurio said.
Mercurio is replacing Christopher Cummings, who is now the eighth grade assistant principal at .
Mercurio, 41, was born and raised in Harrison and attended Stepinac High School. Afterward he attended Pace University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and history, followed by a Master’s degree in education.
Before putting his education degree to work, Mercurio spent three years in the Mount Vernon Police Department.
“Really my ultimate goal was once I had retired from the police force I would probably have gone on and taught,” he said. “But I decided to speed up the process.”
He got his first teaching job at Woodlands High School in Hartsdale, where he taught eighth and 11th grade social studies. From there he moved onto Somers High School, where he taught a number of subjects before settling in as the director of the alternative high school.
“I ran the program there for a while and then this opportunity came about,” Mercurio said. “It kind of felt like it was just time to take on a new challenge.”
Mercurio, who currently lives in Patterson with his wife and three children (ages 16, 12 and 9), chose the job largely due to his desire to work in the Lakeland school district, he said.
“It’s a great district with a lot of people who have grown up here and have stayed here,” the assistant principal said. “It was that family kind of unity I was looking for, and I decided this would be a pretty good transition.”