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CCC Graduate Named New Skaneateles Principal


JoAnna Schmeling is getting back to where her passion lies.

In a release posted to its website, Schmeling, the current assistant high school principal, was hired by the Skaneateles Central School District’s Board of Education as the principal at Waterman Elementary last Tuesday. She begins her new role on July 1st, 2024, taking over for Patrick Brown, who is retiring after 20 years.

For Schmeling, it’s been a winding path to her dream job. She worked in corporate and construction, as well as in retail. Some of those jobs came before she made the jump into education, and others while she was still completing her college studies.

“I was a late starter to education with a true passion for early education,” Schmeling said. “I worked as a preschool teacher for a decade before I completed my degree in early education and special education. I’ve taught at the high school and college level, as well as the elementary school level and remote.”

Schmeling recalls hearing questions as to whether she would succeed in academia when she was in high school. She now uses those doubts as fuel to help reach today’s students.

Schmeling earned her associate’s degree at Cayuga Community College, completed her bachelor’s degree at SUNY Cortland, and continued on with her master’s while substitute teaching.

Schmeling has spent 11 years at Skaneateles, as a substitute, Kindergarten teacher and Special Education Teacher at both the elementary school and high school. This year she served as the assistant high school principal.

“I love it here,” Schmeling said. “This year has been amazing, but early education is my thing. Getting this job at Waterman is a dream come true.”

Schmeling, who previously interned under Brown, has seen many of the Waterman teachers first-hand as a special education teacher. She learned a lot from each and hopes to connect educators to foster more professional learning.

“Walking in after Pat Brown is not an easy feat,” Schmeling said. “He’s amazing. Huge shoes to fill, but I want to continue on that legacy. Waterman is a special place where all are welcomed, all are loved, and all are guided to their rightful place of learning and growth.”

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