Matthew Rucinski used to teach middle school religion and social studies at St. Mary’s School, and now returns as the school’s new principal. (Emily Benson photo)
Matthew Rucinski used to teach middle school religion and social studies at St. Mary’s School, and now returns as the school’s new principal. (Emily Benson photo)

St. Mary’s School in Waterford is welcoming back a familiar face to a new position.

Matthew Rucinski, a former middle school teacher at St. Mary’s, has been appointed principal of the place that he proudly calls “my second home.”
 “I really want our students and our families to feel welcome,” said Rucinski. “I truly view St. Mary’s as my second home and I always have. I want our families to feel that same connection to that school community.”

Rucinski, 31, taught middle school religion and social studies for seven years at St. Mary’s before switching to the private sector and working as an operations manager for Coldwell Banker Prime Properties. When the school’s principal position became available, Rucinski believed his teaching and business experience made him the right fit for the job.

“I think (that with) my past experiences (and) my personal connection to the school, I kinda felt that I could be the right person to continue to see St. Mary’s grow,” said Rucinski. 

“We are delighted to welcome back such a talented and experienced educator, and are confident he will serve with the excellence, faith, and tradition that define St. Mary’s School,” said Giovanni Virgiglio, superintendent of schools at the time of Rucinski’s appointment. 

Rucinski has set a handful of goals for the upcoming year, including an academically challenging and competitive middle school program. Class electives, such as art, music or public speaking, will be available to students that may not be offered in other school districts. 

Above all, Rucinski wants to establish a sense of community in the school — a place where students and their families feel welcomed and that supporters in the community are proud of. 

“As principal, I’m going to know every student’s name,” said Rucinski. “That’s a goal. My first couple of months is to get to know every student. One of our strengths is our size (180 students attend from pre-K to eighth grade), so one of my goals is to make that truly a positive function of St. Mary’s school.” 

A native of Loundonville, Rucinski grew up attending Catholic school at St. Pius X. He graduated from Voorheesville High School, and earned a bachelor’s degree in education from the State University of New York at Geneseo. He also holds a master’s degree in science literacy from the University at Albany. 

Rucinski also serves on the board of advisers for Catholic Charities of the Albany Diocese, is a board member of the St. Francis Xavier Haitian Orphanage Foundation and is a representative of the Albany Diocesan Pastoral Council. In his spare time, you can find him practicing his swing on whatever golf course he can get a tee time. 

“I care deeply about this school and this school community, and I know how great this community is and how excellent a school St. Mary’s is,” Rucinski said. “I will continue that tradition; I want to build upon that legacy.”