It was a little league coaching job that led Crossroads South Principal Raymond Tucholski down his chosen career path, a journey that will come to an end at the close of the school year.
While playing high school baseball at Rutherford High School in northern New Jersey, Tucholski mentioned that he was also an assistant coach for a local little league team. He said that he loved working with kids in that capacity. By the time college came, it was this experience that helped Tucholski realize he wanted to work with children.
Now after 36 years in the South Brunswick School District working with kids, Tucholski will be retiring in June.
“It has been an amazing journey,” Tucholski said in his farewell letter home to parents. “I hope I have left a thumbprint and impact on child’s lives that I have served and that I have been instrumental in kid’s success."
After receiving his Bachelor’s in Education from William Paterson University in Wayne, NJ, Tucholski went on to Rutgers and gained a Masters in Administration and Supervision.
During the 1976-77 school year, the veteran educator began an extensive teaching career in South Brunswick.
“I was primarily certified to be a math teacher and I taught the subject for 20 years,” Tucholski said, noting that his entire teaching career has taken place at Crossroads South.
Besides being a math teacher and now principal for the past five years, Tucholski has also contributed to high school athletics in South Brunswick, as he coached football and softball.
In 1986, he stepped down as math chairperson and became the first athletic coordinator at the middle school, as he was responsible for organizing interscholastic athletic events. Tucholski also served as an assistant principal at Crossroads South before becoming principal.
“There is no single year or moment that stands out to me. I have very fond memories,” he said. “I still wake up and am excited to go to school. I will truly miss the kids and the staff. This was my second home, although my wife would say it’s my first home."
During his time as an educator in South Brunswick, Tucholski also provided an example for his colleagues.
“He has displayed a very strong work ethic over the 36 years he has been part of this school district," said Assistant Principal Sondra Hinson. "He is dedicated and it has been a pleasure, as we have worked well together over my nine years as his assistant principal.”
Tucholski said it was the parents and students he met during his time at Crossroads that helped make his career so enjoyable.
“The people in South Brunswick have been very supportive and encouraging," he said. "I have been blessed to have a career I love for the past 36 years.”
Hinson said it was Tucholski's dedication to the school that helped him become synonymous with the Crossroads community.
“He is compassionate about middle school and attends all sporting events and activities that take place at our school," she said. "There is no one that knows Crossroads better than him and it is a tribute to him to go out as principal. It shows the hard work it took to get to where he is and that he is well-respected.”
When asked how he would like to be remembered after he retires, Tucholski said he hopes the people he came in contact with after nearly four decades in South Brunswick would be his legacy.
“I hope to be remembered as a people person, who always placed kids first in any decisions I made, and as a gentleman,” he added.
For those at Crossroads who were inspired by Tucholski, his example will be remembered long after his career in education reaches the end.
“He will forever be a friend and colleague," Hinson said. "Every day he loved what he was doing and it showed."