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Theresa Donohue Returns Home as Accompsett MS Assistant Principal

Theresa Donohue, who began her education career in Smithtown, now returns as an assistant principal. thumbnail187928
Theresa Donohue, who began her education career in Smithtown, now returns as an assistant principal.
Theresa Donohue’s childhood home sits in St. James, five miles from Accompsett Middle School.

Her first role in education came in that school building as well, initially as an in-house substitute teacher, then as an academic intervention services tutor, when the facility served as a ninth-grade center.

Now, Ms. Donohue is thrilled to be returning home, to the community where she has been a lifelong resident.

Ms. Donohue unanimously was approved by the Board of Education on Tuesday night to serve as assistant principal at Accompsett Middle School.

She arrives from Cold Spring Harbor, where she spent the past four years as humanities director, overseeing English and social studies.

Ms. Donohue takes the role previously held by Timothy Hellmuth, who recently was appointed Accompsett Elementary School principal.

“I always wanted to be able to come back to Smithtown,” Ms. Donohue said. “To be here now as an assistant principal, it’s a dream. Being this close to home, and in a community in which I was born and raised, really is very special to me.”

Ms. Donohue particularly relishes working with middle schoolers.

“It’s a very special time in their lives. They’re going through so many changes,” said Ms. Donohue, who earned her bachelor’s degree from St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue, and a master’s degree and a leadership certificate at Stony Brook University. “They want to be seen as independent and mature, but they’re not quite there yet. So I feel we have such a great opportunity here to mold them and shape them into young adults. They change so much in these three years. And it goes so fast. They just hold a special place in my heart.”

After her initial experience in Smithtown, Ms. Donohue began teaching English to seventh- and eighth-graders at Commack Middle School for a decade. She then ascended to an English coordinator position and served with the Commack district for an additional four years.

The tug of middle school prevailed, though, and Ms. Donohue accepted a position with the Massapequa school district as assistant principal at Berner Middle School, which had roughly 1,200 students. She eventually moved to the Cold Spring Harbor school district, serving for four years on the curriculum side.

“I learned so much about curriculum and social studies and early literacy,” Ms. Donohue said. “But I knew that being in one building — especially a middle-school building — was where I wanted to be. When this opportunity arose, I had to go for it.”

Ms. Donohue has two sons attending school in Smithtown, at High School East and Nesaquake Middle School. Her husband, Tom, serves as a St. James volunteer firefighter in addition to working for the Port Authority as a construction project manager in the engineering department.

“I’m excited to work with the people of Smithtown,” Ms. Donohue said. “I know there are wonderful administrators. I know the teachers are great. I feel connected to the community. I have a lot of pride. I’m glad to be a part of that.”