LINDEN, N.J. — Students and parents at McManus Middle School and School No. 2 returned to school
to find new faces in their principal’s office. But that doesn’t mean the new principals are in unfamiliar territory.
Atiya Perkins is the new principal at McManus, after serving for three years as principal at School No. 2; and Peter Fingerlin has taken the helm at School No. 2 after three years as principal at McManus. The trading of positions for the two is a homecoming for both; they are returning to the schools in which they were previously in the role of vice principal.
“I think this opportunity to come back here is going to put more smile on my face, a little more of
a sunshine approach,” Fingerlin said. “Elementary schools are very welcoming, very family-oriented. I’m really excited about being here.”
Perkins said she is “excited and grateful for this opportunity.”
“I’ll be doing a lot of talking with the middle school students,” she said. “They might not say a lot back to me immediately, but they’ll know that when Perkins is around that I’m going to ask the questions to see what I can do to help them have a successful time here.”
Interim Superintendent Denise Cleary said she sees the changes as a great opportunity for both schools.
“Both Ms. Perkins and Mr. Fingerlin are valuable leaders on our administrative team and have served in various roles in their nearly two decades with Linden Public Schools,” Cleary said. “We think this change will be good for both of them, as well as for the McManus and School No. 2 families. It gives them the opportunity to recharge and see things from a new perspective. We’re looking forward to a great year for both schools.”
Both Perkins and Fingerlin are taking a wait-and-see approach before planning any big changes at their new schools.
“Moving into something new, you have to take your time to figure things out,” Perkins said. “My
goal is to identify the strategic direction the school is going in, the climate, the culture, the
academics. Slow and steady can win the race, so I’m not looking to jump in and run.”
Fingerlin said that being familiar with much of the staff makes his transition easier.
“I going to sit and see what we have and see how it operates, then maybe make some modest
changes and adjustments this year,” he said. “Then next year we can make a full evaluation and