Ending months of speculation, Dr. Sid Barish, Schreiber High School's popular principal for the past 14 years, announced his retirement last week. The date is early August, when he celebrates his 55th birthday. Known for his deep emotional connection and commitment to the students, Dr. Barish told the Port News that he feels as if he's ending on the right note. "I leave on a happy note, feeling very fulfilled professionally."
An educator for 33 years and an avid runner, Dr. Barish likens his retirement to the natural high he gets after he has successfully finished a marathon: "I have a real sense of accomplishment."
Not one to toot his own horn, Dr. Barish attributes his success and good feeling to the positive atmosphere in Port Washington. Working the runner metaphor, he says, "The people and place of Port Washington have been nice terrain to train and function in; it's been easy to traverse."
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Albert Inserra, who has also announced his own retirement at the end of June, spoke highly of his colleague: "The high school principalship is one of the most demanding positions in any school district. Losing a principal of the status and caliber of Dr. Barish is a tremendous loss for the school district. In my tenure in Port Washington, I have found him to be the consummate professional. He starts with caring about kids, has a clear vision for the high school, has an excellent instinct on selecting staff and is a very skilled leader. I wish him well. Port is losing a great leader!"
Dr. Barish is excited about his prospects for the future. "There are so many doors to try. I look forward to seeing what's on the other side." Currently an adjunct professor, college teaching is one option he plans to explore. He's also considering offering his services to the New York City schools, where he started his career in education: "I'd like to help out in the needier places, focusing perhaps on leadership, and maybe help shape the next generation of administrators."
One fan of the articulate high school principal quipped that Dr. Barish could ghost write graduation speeches, because his were usually so thoughtful and memorable.
On a personal note, he plans to continue his running and to "stay fit." After working up to 70 hours some weeks, he's looking forward to "reclaiming some time for himself," he said.
What will he miss the most? Dr. Barish answers, not surprisingly, "It's always been about the kids for me." He noted that in 1990 he did a short stint as an assistant superintendent, "but missed the direct contact with the kids and the pulse of the building." Though some people may not have always agreed with his decisions, most people recognize that he has always had, what he genuinely believes, are the best interests of the youngsters at heart.
Summing up his experience at Schreiber, Dr. Barish, a humanist, commented, "I've been enriched by the people who have touched my life here."