Meet James Nocito, the new assistant principal


Pictured above is Assistant Principal James Nocito’s office. Nocito will retire in the summer of 2019 after three years at WHS and 34 years in public education.

Nathan Zhao and Naomi Lathan

A warm breeze drifts across the campus of WHS. It’s August and the school is dead silent and empty of students. Janitors move about, making sure the bathrooms, floors and classrooms are ready for the upcoming school year. A few teachers stop by to check on their classrooms and solidify their plans for the upcoming year. WHS is in the midst of its summer preparation for the new school year.

For James Nocito, however, this preparation doesn’t involve writing teaching plans or cleaning the school. Nocito, the newly appointed assistant principal, sits at his desk in the main office, picks up the phone and calls the next freshman parent on his packet of names.

In the month of August, Nocito called every freshman’s parents to introduce himself and to respond to any of their questions. He serves as the assistant principal for grades 9 and 11 so Nocito is currently working on calling all junior parents.

“I enjoyed calling the parents of all 214 freshmen,” Nocito said. “The students seemed to be very academically inclined and sporty and the parents seemed to be very supportive of their kids.”

Nocito sees communication as an important aspect in his day-to-day job as an administrator. He follows what he calls the “Triangle of Success,” which for him includes the parent, the student and the administrator. His goal is to have all communication be “open, honest, immediate, and consistent.”

“Each rung of the ‘Triangle of Success’ must communicate effectively with each other. This is why communication is my number one priority,” Nocito said. “The student should be telling the parent any concerns they may have about school and the student should voice these concerns to me too. If any side of the triangle is missing, communication must have failed.”

Before teaching at Wayland, Nocito served as K-12 world language supervisor for the Somerville Public Schools. He oversaw the Somerville world language department for 1,150 students in nine different schools. He taught the AP Spanish Language and Culture class in Somerville for native speakers. Before that, Nocito taught AP Spanish at Lexington High School, a school that he thinks is very similar to Wayland and prepared him well for the Wayland community.

“Wayland is very similar to Lexington in that you have very dedicated parents and faculty in both schools,” Nocito said. “I had been used to this type of system there and that experience allows me to work better in the Wayland community.”

All in all, Nocito has 31 years of educational experience. Not much is new to him regarding a new school year, but one thing that is new is a new start at WHS.

“I’m excited to be working with tremendous people this year. [Principal Allyson] Mizoguchi, [K-12 Wellness Director Scott] Parseghian, [fellow Assistant Principal Ethan] Dolleman and more — there’s just a whole group of great people here in Wayland,” Nocito said. “The community is fantastic.”

Although he is an administrator, Nocito enjoys teaching the most.

A sign on his office walls reads “No Tricks, Traps, Surprises, or Secrets”. Nocito thinks the role of assistant principal has a reputation of being nothing more than a disciplinarian. He wants to be more than that. Nocito wants to be someone that anyone can feel comfortable talking to.

“I plan to identify a [disciplinary] matter, resolve the matter and then put in multiple safety nets to prevent the matter from reoccurring,” Nocito said. “I also want people to come just to say hello, I think I’ve done that so far.”

Nocito is excited for the school year to get rolling. In his previous experience, he found that teachers are more excited than students at the beginning of the year. Nocito’s favorite part of the year is when students take control of their own learning.

“The students start to motivate themselves. It’s amazing to see that light in their eye and know that they want to learn,” Nocito said.

So far, Nocito feels welcome at Wayland. He has found students and faculty to be warm and friendly and he does not see any large obstacles in the future.

“You never feel you are alone here,” Nocito said.