Teacher Spotlight: Mr. Calandrino

This September, Mr. Calandrino began his first year as a physical education teacher at Cresskill High School. Longtime Cresskillians, however, know him as a familiar face.

Mr. Calandrino attended Emerson High School in Emerson, New Jersey and later studied Health and Physical Education at Ithaca College. His passion was always to coach wrestling or football; however, he finds physical education and coaching similar to one another. After kicking off his teaching career with a position teaching Phys-Ed in Paterson for a year, he soon transferred to Edward H. Bryan School (EHB), one of Cresskill’s two elementary schools. There, he taught physical education for 8 years, and formed a lasting rapport with some of the very students whom he now teaches at CHS.

When asked about his transition from EHB to CHS, Mr. Calandrino responded, “I knew a lot of the kids already from Bryan School… and [I] coached wrestling here too, [so I] knew a lot of the kids through that too.” Mr. Calandrino made clear that he loves both schools in equal measure. However, he finds the younger kids a lot “more rambunctious and harder to control,” whereas it is a lot easier to “manage [the] behavior” of high school students.

Notwithstanding the challenges of teaching elementary schoolers, Mr. Calandrino left a good impression on his students from the early outset of his teaching career. Sidney Hamburger, a student of Mr. Calandrino since elementary school and wrestler for him since the seventh grade, shared, “I feel like he always wants the best for me. I have a lot of respect for him; he is one of the most diligent and intelligent people I know.”

Outside of school, Mr. Calandrino can be found coaching Emerson High School’s football team and Cresskill’s own wrestling team. As the wrestling coach of Cresskill, Mr. Calandrino has won coach of the year twice, in 2016 and 2018. He has also led the Cougars to a league title in 2015 and ended last season on a 24-6 record.

 The transition from elementary school to high school was no easy task for Mr. Calandrino. However, he pushed through it all leaving smiles on his students as they exited the gym.  

Ultimately, Mr. Calandrino hopes to instill “[a] joy of exercising” in all of his students.