ESSEX COUNTY, NJ — St. Rose of Lima Academy in Short Hills got to know a new principal, Tina Underwood, in the first half of the school year. Many students from around Essex County attend St. Rose. Below is an interview conducted with Underwood by sixth-grader Mia Henrich, a member of the editorial staff for St. Rose’s student newspaper, The Blurb.
MH: How would you describe yourself in a few words or sentences?
TU: I have an extremely strong work ethic. When I accepted the opportunity to be the principal at SRLA, I knew it would involve long hours and hard work, but that’s when I’m at my best! At SRLA we do not just meet expectations, we exceed them. I have a deep commitment to excellence in Catholic education.
MH: What are your initiatives for this year?
TU: I plan to design and implement programs that will allow the students of SRLA to become innovative thinkers and leaders of tomorrow.
MH: Were you a good student?
TU: Yes, I was, but I had to work extremely hard to remain at the top of my class. Even today as a doctoral candidate, I spend most of my free time writing or researching my dissertation.
MH: Were you born in New Jersey?
TU: I am a Jersey girl. I attended Wyoming Grammar School in Millburn, as well as Millburn Middle School. I graduated from the Academy of St. Elizabeth in Convent Station. After high school I attended Seton Hall University and hold a B.S. degree in business, an M.A.E. in education, an Ed.S. in educational leadership and soon — as soon as I defend my dissertation — an Ed.D.
MH: What are your hobbies? What do you like to do in your spare time?
TU: I enjoy many outside activities! But my favorite would be preparing and showing our antique Porsches. My husband and I travel all over for shows and auctions for pure fun.
MH: What do you like best about being a principal?
TU: I like making a difference! I feel that I understand the current issues facing schools today. I can implement my innovative ideas for improving instruction at St. Rose while fostering a collegial atmosphere among our teachers. Also, I see the big picture. I have the spiritual, moral and intellectual strength to make SRLA the best.