School of Education alumnus appointed principal at Waterford High School

August 08, 2022

Headshot of Kirk Samuelson

After six years as their high school assistant principal, Kirk Samuelson MAT ’00, is furthering his career in education as the new principal of Waterford High School.

It wasn’t until after graduating from college with a bachelor’s degree in marine biology “with no plan” that Samuelson discovered his interest in teaching.

“It’s during those types of situations when one is forced to search deep within themselves to find what one values the most in a career,” said Samuelson. “For me, that was becoming a teacher because it is one of the few professions where one can give back to their community while making a difference in the lives of students.”

Samuelson said he has been prepared for the position of principal for the last 20-plus years in a variety of different roles: starting as a high school science teacher, becoming a science program coordinator, then a high school assistant principal and even as a restaurant general manager.

“My interest in becoming a principal was there from the beginning, but I wasn’t in a rush to fast track my career,” said Samuelson “It was just a matter of timing and finding the right ‘fit’ and I knew I found that here in Waterford when I was hired six years ago as an assistant principal.”

Samuelson credits his success in the education field to the consistent support and recognition he received from his professors, and his overall experience at in the School of Education Quinnipiac.

“Enrolling in the Master of Arts in Teaching program at Quinnipiac was instrumental to my success as an educator, especially early on in my career,” said Samuelson. “The courses were relevant and engaging, and my professors were very knowledgeable, insightful and inspiring. Also, for my yearlong internship, I was placed in a highly desirable and progressive school district to learn about the different roles, responsibilities and facets of how a high school operates. This learning experience was invaluable because it allowed me to apply my new learning into practice.”

Samuelson said that it was the continued influence of his professors that make him realize his own desire to transcend the role of a student into that of an educator. He encourages future educators to remember that the educational landscape is constantly changing, so prepare to persevere and navigate your way through all of the challenges while continuing to find ways to both motivate and reinvent yourself from one year to the next.

“The truth is the world, especially in the field of education, needs people like you to help make a difference and I know you will,” said Samuelson. “So I ask you: how are you going to make better use of the talents you possess to help make a difference?”

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