Penikas feels his entire career path – which includes stints as assistant principal, dean, teacher and coach - has prepared him for the position and given him the skills to effectively connect with students and staff.
Penikas said that he was immediately attracted to the position at Archbishop Molloy High School.
“I always admired the school and I had to apply,” he said. “It has great academics, great athletics and it does a great job of nurturing the students and providing them with great service opportunities.”
As Penikas works to complete his doctorate degree in Educational Administration at St. John's University, he says that being a student in today’s world helps him connect to the students he works with.
“Being a student now has given me such insight into the lives of students today,” he said. “It gives you a real appreciation of what they do.”
As principal, Penikas hopes to prioritize student use of technology in the classroom.
“All schools, especially a leading school such as Molloy, need to make sure they prepare school children to keep up with the changes in technology,” he said. “We need to infuse technology into the classroom while keeping the personal connection with the student.”
In preparation for the coming school year, Penikas attended the Marist Leadership Institute Retreat, where he felt extremely welcomed and at ease. He plans to extend that same sentiment to his future students.
The greatest challenge he anticipates is making sure he connects with the existing tight-knit Molloy community and gets to know everyone.
Overall, Penikas wants students to care for fellow human beings, work hard to improve themselves and make a positive contribution.
“I want to make sure that we are nurturing the students and helping them develop into themselves,” he said.