Principal profile: Who is Michael Rinaldi?

Principal Rinaldi and Camille Figluizzi talk to students and parents at an event last May.

As most all people know, Mr. Michael Rinaldi is the newest principal at Westhill High School. However, how much do students and faculty members really know about him?

Michael Rinaldi was born and raised in none other than Stamford, Connecticut. He made his way through the Stamford Public school system as a kid and even graduated from Westhill. This alone was a reason why he was so attracted to be coming the head honcho at “The Hill.”

Rinaldi also said that it was at Westhill where he discovered his passion for teaching. In an interview with the Westword this past school year, he describes the moment when he realized he wanted to become a teacher.

“I had study hall, and Mr. Kotch, my chemistry teacher, read the bulletin that day. He said if you had a study hall in that particular period, you can go to the pool and help kids learn how to swim,” Rinaldi said.

Rinaldi, at first, intended to go down to the pool to swim. Nevertheless, this was when he realized teaching was for him. “I only wanted to go down there because I wanted to go to the pool. But, I discovered how much I really enjoyed helping those kids learn how to swim.”

Rinaldi’s teaching career started at Northeast Elementary School. He has also been an administrator at Dolan Middle School, Rippowam Middle School, and Stamford High School.

Rinaldi also has the capability of speaking Spanish, which is imperative in a school with 36% of the students being made up of Hispanics. While teaching at Northeast Elementary, Rinaldi noticed that he had trouble communicating with Hispanic kids and their parents. Because of this, Rinaldi decided to take a year absence to go to Puerto Rico and learn the language, as well as get a feel for the culture.

He found a teaching job there, and this now allows him to truly connect with the Hispanic population, which is uncommon amongst the other principals in the Stamford Public Schools System.

Rinaldi describes himself as “someone who truly is invested in every single student’s success.”

Rinaldi truly wants to connect with each student that walks through the building. Every single day, Rinaldi greets students walking into the school with his music playlist bumping loud for all to hear in the background. Additionally, he is very active around school, visiting classes and reaching out to both students and faculty.

Rinaldi has a 10-year old son that is also in the public chools system, attending Toquam Magnet School.

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