When the opening bell rings at J. Taylor Finley Middle School on Wednesday, September 6, classrooms will be flooded with more than 700 seventh and eighth graders and faculty and staff members will be ready to hit the proverbial ground running.
It might be summer vacation, but 60 incoming Huntington School District sixth and seventh graders showed they weren’t ready to completely kick-back and forget about the classroom.
J. Taylor Finley Middle School’s Class of 2017 was a powerhouse. The group spent the past two years distinguishing itself in every possible way, setting new standards of academic, artistic, athletic and community service and leadership excellence.
A school is much more than bricks and mortar or a compilation of facts and information. At J. Taylor Finley Middle School, faculty and support staff members have purposely created a student-centered environment that is academically challenging, psychologically satisfying, and socially fulfilling.
Because the adolescent period is an extremely important phase in every youngster’s development, the middle school plays a vital role in helping each student blossom into an independent and well-educated person.
Finley relies on its excellent staff to ease students into and to guide them through this very critical transition from a self-contained elementary school classroom to a departmentalized program. Faculty members are aware of the importance of a close teacher-student relationship and of teacher-parent contacts. They foster growth in the ability of students to make decisions and to work independently. Teachers utilize a humanistic approach as they encourage and challenge students to set realistic and attainable standards of academic performance and social interaction.
J. Taylor Finley Middle School has developed a program to build upon and emphasize the strong foundation of skills each student has acquired at the elementary school level, to pursue further the many different academic disciplines, to explore the creative and aesthetic areas of the fine and practical arts, to expand the awareness of career possibilities and to cultivate lifelong physical and recreational skills.
Flexibility, individualization and enrichment characterize the wide range of student experiences at J. Taylor Finley Middle School, which has been serving the community for more than four decades.
Finley opened in September 1965. It sits on 20 acres of land and is named after a legendary figure in district history. After teaching math and physics at Huntington High School for one year, J. Taylor Finley was named principal of Woodbury Avenue Elementary School (which is now a condominium complex) for the 1930 school year. In 1939, he became principal of Lincoln Elementary School (now an apartment complex) on East 9th Street in Huntington Station, across the street from St. Hugh of Lincoln Church. He worked as principal of both schools until October 15, 1943 when he was named principal of Robert K. Toaz Junior High School.
Mr. Finley stayed on as principal of Toaz through the 1954 school year. At that time he was elevated to assistant superintendent of schools and was named superintendent of schools in 1957, a position he held until his retirement on June 30, 1963.
The Huntington Board of Education voted December 8, 1964 to officially name the district’s new junior high school on Greenlawn Road after Mr. Finley in recognition of his 34 years of service to the schools and community. “The Board of Education and all of your friends here in Huntington send their best regards,” Superintendent Charles T. St. Clair wrote in a December 9 letter to Mr. Finley informing him of the school board’s action.
Mr. Finley passed away October 3, 1975. He is buried in the family plot at Pompton Plains Reform Church Cemetery in New Jersey.
Since the school’s opening, Finley students have won every possible academic honor and the school has earned countless awards for excellence. Over the years it has been listed among the best middle schools in Suffolk and the state.
John Amato has been principal of J. Taylor Finley Middle School since July 2006 after having served as assistant principal at Sayville Middle School for six years. He earlier worked as a seventh and eighth grade special education teacher in the Sachem school district, where he began his administrative career as a remedial summer school assistant principal.
A 1986 graduate of St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue with a Bachelor of Arts degree in human relations and a concentration in leadership and human resources development and management, Mr. Amato obtained a Master of Science degree in special education at Adelphi University in 1989. He earned his administrative certification through The College of New Rochelle in 1999.
Mr. Amato maintains membership in various professional organizations and serves as president of Huntington’s District School Principals Association. He is also one of the most highly regarded basketball referees on Long Island.
In their free time, Mr. Amato and his wife enjoy sailing on Long Island’s South Shore and visiting with family and friends. He can frequently be seen attending events across the school district.
An energetic leader who sets high standards for himself, Mr. Amato is steadfast in his pursuit of excellence for every Finley student. He looks to build upon the strong academic and co-curricular traditions of the school, which has been serving the Huntington community since September 1965.
J. Taylor Finley Middle School Assistant Principal Kenneth C. Parham came to Huntington from the Bay Shore school district where he worked for many years as a fifth grade teacher and later as dean of students.
Mr. Parham coached the Bay Shore men's varsity basketball team, winning numerous league titles and the Suffolk championship in 2004. He was voted coach of the year many times and won 70 percent of his games.
As a fifth grade teacher, Mr. Parham instructed accelerated mathematics classes. He possesses computer literacy in a variety of software programs. Around Finley's hallways and classrooms, he is a very visible leader and strong personality known for his wit and wisdom and general sense of humor.
Mr. Parham received his undergraduate degree in history with a minor in education at Dowling College in 1992. He obtained a master of science in school counseling at Long Island University – C.W. Post in 1997 and earned a certificate of advanced study in educational administration at Stony Brook University in 2005.
While serving as Bay Shore's basketball coach, Mr. Parham sent players to numerous colleges including the University of Miami, Bucknell, St. Peter's, Dowling and Adelphi. He was also the Bay Shore women's varsity basketball coach for two seasons. Upon his own high school graduation, he initially attended the University of Texas at El Paso on a scholarship before eventually transferring to Dowling.
In addition to his responsibilities as Finley's assistant principal, Mr. Parham serves as head coach of the St. Anthony's High School girls' basketball team.
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|Costello-Roth||Linda||Chair, Special Ed.||lcostello-roth|
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Principal: John Amato
Asst. Principal: Kenneth Parham
1-631-673-2020 Main Office
School Hours: 8:05 a.m. - 2:55 p.m.