Dr. Vitow: More Than a Headmaster
Updated: Nov 23
This past week, I had the privilege of sitting down with our very own Headmaster to get to know a little more about North Shore’s “big man on campus.” Sure, we all know Dr. Vitow; we say hi to him in the hallway; we vote for him every year as best Long Island Principal (4th year in a row!); we bother him about our schedules; we flood his inbox with emails-it never ends. Though it seems this is the Dr. Vitow we think we know, Dr. Vitow is a father, a grandfather, a teacher, a movie buff, and even a world traveler! Our talented Headmaster can juggle his various responsibilities at North Shore, spend time with his grandchildren on Sundays, sail off the coast of Turkey, go for a swim in Florida, and save our school from implosion. Running a school is no easy feat; in fact, “school is insanity!” as Dr. Vitow remarked. How is it that Dr. Vitow manages to make the job look so easy?
A lot of people I know love to complain about how they are forced to wake up so early and sit in class for what is an almost nine-hour long school day only to come home and face what seems like endless stacks of homework. After his early morning commute from the Five Towns, Dr. Vitow arrives at school at around 7:50 am. “Before I have the chance to put the key in the door, I have students waiting outside my office to speak with me,” Dr. Vitow added. With a mile-long to-do list, mine is starting to look like a movie stub compared to Dr. Vitow’s. In fact, Dr. Vitow outlines his order or business by the season.
At this time of year, you might be sitting in class and you turn your head only to find Dr. Vitow sitting two rows behind you, diligently taking notes like everyone else; that’s right, it’s auditing season here at North Shore! Time for Dr. Vitow to listen in on your class, for you to put your cellphone in the shoe-bag, and for your teacher to show sure signs of a bundle of nerves. Sitting behind his desk with a warm cup of coffee and stacks of reports, all starts to seem well for Dr. Vitow. This is almost too good to be true, which of course it is! Whether it’s a senior’s college essay or a sophomore looking to get out of PE, it’s all hustle and bustle at the Headmaster’s.
For Dr. Vitow, “there is no such thing as a busy day,” he likes to joke. While some students love to complain about their workload, Dr. Vitow thrives in the “North Shore flurry,” whether caught in the crossfires of the “school-board bureaucracy” or interviewing a line of prospective students. Silence and Dr. Vitow simply cannot coexist. For instance, working with Ivan Kaufman was amazing in that Dr. Vitow was charged with creating a school from scratch, though the office monotony proved unexciting and ill-inspiring for Dr. Vitow. Young minds were never molded in a quiet office cubicle.
“Working with high school students is my favorite part of the job,” Dr. Vitow says. It’s no surprise that Dr. Vitow loves working with high school students; as a matter of fact, Dr. Vitow has taught AP Psychology, Social Studies, and AP European History, his personal favorite! As Headmaster of North Shore, the students’ ambition never ceases to motivate Dr. Vitow. I’m sure most can attest that Dr. Vitow is always willing to accommodate for every one of us. After all, education was never intended to be “one size fits all.”
As improbable as it may seem, Dr. Vitow is a human being. Just like you and me, Dr. Vitow is a man who enjoys a little downtime once in a while. For Dr. Vitow, a typical Sunday looks like grabbing a morning cup of coffee at Dunkin Donuts or 7-Eleven and stopping at the carwash so he can fashionably ride in style on the way to visit his grandchildren. In other words, “I can take off my watch,” as Dr. Vitow put it. For when the Headmaster needs some more excitement, Dr. Vitow taps into his inner-Phileas Fogg as he travels the globe. While Dr. Vitow’s favorite trip was his cruise to Turkey, Israel and Italy are also some of the Headmaster’s favorite places to explore. On those boring rainy days, Dr. Vitow is always up to catch a movie. The Paper Chase, an old favorite of Dr. Vitow’s, is one that he can relate to tremendously. Next time you pass by Dr. Vitow in the halls, ask him about this movie and tune in for a great story!