Former gym teacher takes over as Acting Middle School Assistant Principal

Escalante%2C+a+familiar+face+around+Glen+Rock+High+School+as+a+gym+teacher%2C+has+taken+over+Mr.+Pepe%27s+position+as+Acting+Middle+School+Assistant+Principal.

Escalante, a familiar face around Glen Rock High School as a gym teacher, has taken over Mr. Pepe’s position as Acting Middle School Assistant Principal.

by Yethmie Goonatilleke, Social Media Manager (Twitter)

For those who know Mr. Michael Escalante, you probably recognize him as the teacher leading “Tabata” — the famed gym class warm-up featuring short bursts of intense exercise followed by a period of rest, usually coupled with fitting motivational music. Or, it could be that you know Escalante as “Coach Esco,” a nickname students have thought up for Escalante as he took on the roles of Head Boys Lacrosse Coach and Assistant Football Coach. 

If you mention Escalante now, you’d be referring to the Acting Middle School Assistant Principal. After being recommended for the role in December 2020, Escalante has officially taken over the position. 

“When I saw the opportunity, I felt ready to jump at it,” Escalante explained. “I thought it would be a great step for myself and I really wanted to help the school on a grander scale and support students, especially now more than ever.” 

Having been a physical education and health teacher in the high school since 2015, Escalante is no stranger to the school. Beyond being a teacher, Escalante has been connected to the Glen Rock Public School System in nearly every capacity imaginable. 

Escalante grew up in Glen Rock and attended Academy of Our Lady, as well as Glen Rock Middle School and High School. After graduating from Glen Rock High School in 2009, Escalante attended Springfield College in Massachusetts where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in physical education and health. 

During his time in college, Escalante was interested in pursuing a career in education and became a substitute teacher for the school system. He became a teacher’s assistant for a fifth-grade classroom at Hamilton Elementary School and later, a long-term substitute for a physical education teacher. As a high-schooler, Escalante even worked as a custodian in Hamilton Elementary School during summers!

Escalante’s first job as a teacher was in Glen Rock when he became a physical education and health teacher at the middle school in 2014. He became a teacher at the high school after an opportunity arose in 2015.

To go from teacher to administrator is no doubt a sizable change for Escalante, but administration was always a topic of interest to him, as well as something he actively took part in with semi-administrator roles. 

Escalante received a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Scranton in December 2018. He also held many leadership positions during his time as a teacher. Escalante was the Head Boys Lacrosse Coach and site manager for the winter sports. He became the anti-bullying specialist and co-chair of the school’s climate safety team in the high school, which enabled him to work very closely with administration. 

“Having all those experiences over the past few years really helped me gain some insight into, you know, being an administrator and what it’s like. Had I been afforded the opportunity, I would absolutely apply myself to it, so it really just came up and worked out.”

As the Acting Middle School Assistant Principal, Escalante is temporarily completing the duties of Assistant Principal. The process for becoming the permanent Assistant Principal is ongoing, but Escalante is more than glad to be upholding the position currently. 

“To be able to [become an administrator] in a community I grew up in and absolutely love and appreciate all the people who have supported me — it definitely feels even more empowering.”

Escalante has one major goal: continue to develop a positive climate across the school, especially by investing time in relationships and supporting students and teachers alike. 

“You get involved in the teaching profession and education to help people —  that’s really the bottom line. You want to support them and empower them to truly become the people they want to be.”