After spending nearly three decades at the Wachusett Regional School District in just three roles—assistant principal, principal, and superintendent — Thomas G. Pandiscio relishes the opportunity to spend time working with educators in schools.
“Working directly with teachers and kids means you are doing things that have more of a long-term effect,” says Pandiscio, who joined SchoolWorks as a senior project manager in late 2015.
During his time as Wachusett’s superintendent, Pandiscio spearheaded a complete renovation of the high school, navigating financial issues with the five towns that funded the district. More importantly, Pandiscio says, he worked with Tufts University to implement a revamped literacy program that focused on identifying struggling readers in a successful school district.
“These students are sometimes anonymous in suburban schools,” he says. “Students who don’t fit the traditional mold of success are easy to ignore, and what really excited me about this project was that we sat in a planning team and asked what it would look like if we committed to teaching every student in the district.”
As a senior project manager with SchoolWorks, Pandiscio provides extended coaching support for Peck Community School in Holyoke, Mass., supporting leaders and teachers as they overhaul procedures and instruction. He is also working with the district as it implements a personalized learning model as part of a broader turnaround plan that focuses on helping students develop cognitive skills and resilience. Like his college work with the Boys Club that ultimately led him to a career in education, the project is focused on helping the students who need it the most, he says.
“It’s funny that I ended up back here in Holyoke working with at-risk youth,” he says. “That’s where I began.”
Pandiscio appreciates SchoolWorks’ emphasis on working collaboratively with school leaders and educators on solutions to improve teaching and learning.
“Schools are about relationships—relationships with faculty, with your colleagues, with your students, and your community,” he says. “The work is the work, and it’s really important. But what’s most important are the relationships you build, the people with whom you work, and the students you influence.”