Neil J. Estrada started his career in the Schenectady City School District, where he taught second, fourth, fifth, and sixth grades for 10 years. A graduate of the advanced certificate program in school building leadership, he later transitioned into the role of administrator there before moving to Amsterdam Middle School as assistant principal and now Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School in the same capacity.
How did Saint Rose prepare you as an administrator? The extensive internship that they gave us really allowed you to get your feet wet. Just being able to work with other people that had a very similar drive, very similar passion and education, specifically urban education, and just the opportunities that they provided us, provided me the chance to try new things.
They really encourage taking risks and relationship-building. And it was an amazing program. As an assistant principal in my capacity now, I wear various hats. [I’m the] director of driver education. I’m the master scheduler here at the high school. I’m in charge of Advanced Placement exams and classes. So doing all those diff erent tasks within the internship really, I believe, prepared me for the role of an administrator.
What keeps you in the field? The same thing that kept me in the field 10 years ago and 10 years prior to that: the kids. We’re in the people business; we’re in the kid business. Every day’s a diff erent challenge. Every day is a diff erent success. It’s important to have a lot of strong knowledge of self, of your background, so we can give our all for our young people in our community.