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Superintendent’s Corner”
November 14, 2014


I hope your week went well. Every other week I make an effort to finish reading a book. In most cases, the books address topics related to either education or self-improvement. Mr. Pizzutello loaned me The Power Of Nice by Linda Kaplan and Robin Koval. The authors are the co-founders of a successful advertising firm and have found that being nice was a powerful tool in their exceedingly competitive world of advertising as well as in their personnel lives.

The authors demonstrate throughout the book that organizations that have employees that are nice to all stake holders have lower turnover, lower recruitment costs, and higher productivity. Additionally, they site research that indicates people who are nice live longer, are healthier, and surprisingly to some, make more money.  They also conclude that success is more than just being nice, hard work, intelligence and talent are essential too. They do not claim that being nice is the only path to success. However, they do make the point that being kind and considerate is a valid method that is equal or better than any other method, including being selfish and cutthroat.

One of the skills the authors associate with being nice is empathy. Being empathetic is an ability to understand what others may be feeling and see events from another's perspective. Individuals who tend to be empathetic are typically successful in business as opposed to those who are not. The authors conclude that companies that employ individuals who are empathetic recognize and meet the needs and strengths of those that they serve, thus they are successful. One of the most salient points described by the authors is, "When you learn to see the other guy's perspective, you almost always realize it is not about you." 

As I read and re-read many of the short but informative chapters, it was apparent they were generalizable to schools and in fact many schools have adopted the concepts of nice and empathy as part of their core values. These two core values are commonly demonstrated in simple gestures that require little effort but have potentially powerful and long lasting effects.  

I suspect a part of our student body across the four academies have not been consistently impacted in their lives outside of school by the power of nice and empathy. We have a tremendous opportunity to introduce select students to these two powerful concepts. When you identify students, who most likely have significant behavioral issues, please make every attempt to develop an understanding of their history and those antecedents that trigger anti-social behaviors and then when the time is right, be nice. 

In sum, I highly recommend The Power Of Nice and the recommended Edivation video for next week Vision of the Common Core.  



Ed Placke, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools



If you would like more information regarding GNC please visit our website ( For referral information please contact Dr. Robin Levine at 914-798-7200 ext.2232 regarding day placement and for residential placement please contact either Jill Bergner, Director of Intake, at 914-693-3030 ext. 2037 or Karen Safris, Supervisor of Intake, at 914-949-0665 ext. 2301.
Dr. Edward Placke
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