New Ventures Charter School is proud to announce the promotion of founding teacher Amelia DePompo to Assistant Principal.
Mrs. DePompo’s dedication, determination and passion for the New Ventures mission and its students is apparent in everything she does, and we couldn’t be more excited for her to take on and succeed in her new role.
Amelia is no stranger to the power of a student-focused, second chance approach to education, as she herself is the graduate of Concord high school. It is her first-hand experience as a transfer student and struggling teenager that shaped her decision to become a teacher, and is a testimony to the power of paying it forward — that perhaps there are no such things as coincidences.
Mrs. DePompo moved to Staten Island one month before her 15th birthday from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Her mother sent her to live with her grandmother in the hopes that she and the rest of her family would be able to provide me with familial support.
With two other children to care for, her mother could not have her eldest daughter skipping school for days and weeks at a time, running away for days at a time, beginning to experiment with illegal substances, and putting herself in constant danger.
Mrs. DePompo shares, “As an adopted child, I had many confusing thoughts and frustrations in dealing with being a teenager and finding my identity. Knowing that my biological mother went down a very dark road of drug abuse and prostitution, I somehow felt that my life was already predetermined to end up like hers. Many people in my life who only wanted what was best for me became angry with my misguided choices and were at a loss in trying to find me the right kind of help.”
Feeling less capable and deserving of “good thing” moving to Staten Island was supposed to be a “fresh start.” Unfortunately, it wasn’t long into her sophomore year at Curtis High School when she began falling back into old habits — making friends with the wrong crowd, meeting up with the wrong people, and placing herself in potentially dangerous situations.
Because of this, her mother and brothers made the move to New York to be with her, and in the second semester of her junior year she was put in a program called Person in Need of Supervision (also known as PINS) It was here that she began speaking with a counselor who she truly connected with. Her mother also decided she would not return to Curtis, and instead she would attend Concord High School, an alternative transfer high school on Staten Island.
It was here she first met, Mr. Ronald Gorsky, founding principal of New Ventures, and then-Assistant Principal of Concord. She interviewed with him in the exact same manner he and Mr. Melis conduct interviews with prospective New Ventures students, and though she didn’t know it then — this was the first step in her journey to becoming Assistant Principal.
Of this she says, “It was there and then, my mentor of 16 years would teach me my first lesson. More important than the academics, more reliant upon just a person’s past, the ability to take control of your life is in your hands and no one else. This feeling of confidence that I received from that one meeting would be a guiding light for the rest of my life.”
Her experience at Concord was “the highlight of my teenage years.” Her grades were stellar, and more importantly she gained confidence. She says, “The environment which Ron had created at Concord allowed me to not only survive high school life, but also thrive in it.”
After receiving her diploma, Mrs. DePompo headed to The College of Staten Island to study social work, with the idea of paying it forward to others in the way her counselors had helped her. But it wasn’t long before she was second guessing if college was the right fit.
She withdrew, and instead became a Home Health Aide, working mainly with patience on hospice. Her mom is a hospice nurse, and was able to work with her on cases at times, and she got to withness her mother doing what she did well, and what she loved. Mrs. DePompo knew then that she wanted to find a career that I was just as passionate about. At the time, she thought it could be nursing.
Eventually she decided to once again change her focus — this time to something she was passionate about.
“The next semester, I filled my schedule with Intro to Literature, Creative Writing, and Poetry! After giving into my love for learning and pursuing an English degree, I now needed to choose a direction. How was I going to utilize this English degree?”
She considered becoming a teacher. A battle within her mind ensued.
“On the one hand, I called myself crazy and tried to convince myself that I didn’t want to go into education. On the other hand, what was the harm in signing up for some basic courses and seeing what would come of it?”
Timing is Everything
Here’s where it all comes together.
As life would have it, she found herself at the point in her education program where she needed to complete student teaching hours. Almost simultaneously, nearly 11 years after they first met, Mr. Gorsky called to tell her about a new, second transfer school on Staten Island. (NEW VENTURES!) This unique school would defy the traditional high school scene in order to provide students with a second chance. Mr. Gorsky asked if she would consider being a part of this inspirational vision as a founding teacher. She, of course, said yes.
Working at New Ventures
DePompo says, “Every day is a blessing at New Ventures!” and that working at New Ventures has given her so much. The most meaningful? “Validation of my purpose and my gifts to serve and support high school students who need a second, third or even fourth chance, as was given to me.” From the students with their energy and own inspirational stories to the incredible staff with their passion and dedication, DePompo is grateful she gets to work with, and for such “amazing people.”
Assistant Principal DePompo
Mrs. DePompo is incredibly excited and proud to be New Ventures new Assistant Principal. She believes, “it is confirmation that my life was meant to go in the many directions it has.”
She believes her unique experiences have helped guide her to this role, and knows they will serve her well as she creates new ones. She hopes to be a strong and skillful leader to both staff and students, and she hopes to continuing to learn from them, too.
DePompo adds, “I want every student to know that I get it!” I’ve lived the struggle and I am motivated to fight with them, so they can feel what it is like to make it to graduation because they found the strength and confidence within themselves to make it happen.
Outside of Work
DePompo enjoys many blessings in life both professionally and personally. She has been married for 5 years to the love of her life, Antonio, who works for the Parks Department and is “just as passionate about his career as I am in mine.” She credits his continuous support as, “one of the main reasons I am able to dedicate as much time and energy into what I love doing.” Together, they have two beautiful children, William who is 6 and bursting with energy and Samantha who is 2 and “the boss of us all.” She also recently completed her Master’s Degree last November in Special Education K-12 from Western Governors University, which is something she is particularly proud of.
Her Best Advice
Mrs. DePompo wants ALL students to know that, “even against all odds, you have the power in you to change your life and make it what you want, but no one is going to do the hard work for you. And the investment in hard work truly does pay off, you just can’t stop fighting for yourself. Finally, just when you are getting to know yourself, you’ll change. Remember that change is healthy, beautiful, and real. Fighting against change is what makes it more scary. However, when you let go and embrace change, you find a deeper connection within yourself, that is so powerful, and no one can take away.”
We adore you, Mrs. DePompo, and are thrilled to continue to watch you grow in your career.