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Mike Dardaris

PRINCIPALMike Dardaris

Prior to leading the establishment and launch of HFM PTECH, Mr. Dardaris spent five years as middle principal in the Marcellus Central School District and three years as assistant principal in Jamesville DeWitt Central School District. His first love, however, was music education. Before moving into the administration side of education, Mr. Dardaris spent a decade as the director of instrumental music in the Fabius-Pompey Central School District.

Mr. Dardaris earned his bachelor’s degree in music education from the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam and his master’s degree in education from LeMoyne College. He received his Certificate of Advanced Study in Education Administration and Supervision from SUNY Cortland.

In his own words

What is your role at PTECH?

Being the principal here is very different than that of a typical building leader. We are a small school, so I am very involved in the day-to-day routine. On any given day you might catch me playing tag with the students outside, doing APPR paperwork, on lunch duty, assisting on a project in a classroom or even giving music lessons.

Probably the most unique thing is that part of my role here includes recruiting students every year, something I’ve never done before. Now I am visiting all the schools in the region, hosting open houses and setting up tours and shadowing visits.

What excites you most about working at PTECH?

I think everyone has that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a real impact, and I think PTECH is that for me. I think this place has the potential to be a direction-changer for kids, something that has effect on their lives that ripples out into their families, friends and their future careers.

Why did you choose to work in education, and what do you enjoy most about it?

Like many educators I had an inspirational teacher, and I wanted to follow in his footsteps. My band teacher was super positive, had high expectations of all of us and praised our accomplishments.

I really believe that kids are capable of much more than society often gives them credit for. I feel like they have all this untapped potential, and it’s fun watching that unravel. Students are always surprising me with what they are able to do.

What is your vision for PTECH?

As PTECH moves forward, we want to grow and expand what we offer, continue to incorporate more business partners and inspire more teachers to take risks based on the needs of their students.

We want students to go on from here with a sufficient amount of tools in their repertoire to be independent, confident decision-makers.

What are some of your interests outside of work?

I have three kids, so when I’m not at work, I am usually carting someone to Scouts or basketball or soccer. My wife and I are avid Syracuse University sports fans, and we’ve been known to adjust our plans to make sure we don’t miss a game.

I play drums in lots of different bands — everything from pop to country to hip hop. I love to take on new musical endeavors.

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