Trista Rivera ’14, ’17MSEd, Principal at Mt. Carmel-Holy Rosary School, Shares the Importance of Community

Alumni Success

Name: Trista Rivera ’14, ’17MSEd
Hometown: Wading River, N.Y.
High School: Shoreham Wading River
Major: Education
Graduation Years: 2014, 2017
Company: Partnership Schools
Job Title: Principal

What is a day in the life like at your company?
Each day brings something unique and beautiful at Mt. Carmel-Holy Rosary School. The best days are those filled with interactions with students, faculty and families. While we follow a daily schedule, each day looks different. I spend some days in many meetings and on several phone calls, while others are filled with special school events to celebrate students’ achievements. Nevertheless, each and every day is filled with learning and a whole lot of joy.

What do you love most about what you’re currently doing?
I’m blessed to lead a pre-K-eighth grade Catholic school. My students are incredibly intelligent and possess an unmatched wisdom for people their age. I love that we have the opportunity, as educators at MCHR, to give our students a platform to advocate for themselves, while supporting them educationally and emotionally along the way.

How did Iona prepare you to get where you are today?
Iona taught me to be present and to seek ways to share my gifts and talents. My time at Iona was filled with opportunities to collaborate with others and build a community. These moments helped to develop my interpersonal skills while guiding me to serve with the utmost humility.

Were you involved in any student groups or activities? If so, how did they shape or support your career path?
Outside of classes, I dedicated much of time to playing for the Iona women’s soccer team. When I was not training or studying, I participated in Iona in Mission service trips and various clubs on campus. I was especially grateful for my time working as a Gael Community Ambassador during which I had the chance to meet members of the New Rochelle community and learn/present information to Iona students about how they impact the greater New Rochelle community. These experiences helped propel to me the field I currently serve in. I learned the importance of balance and organization, while also developing my lens as a learner and my voice as a leader.

What is the lasting impact Iona has made in your personal and professional life?
Iona has instilled in me a deep sense of community and service. Iona provided me a multitude of opportunities both personally and professionally. I credit one of my mentors, Dr. Paul Beaudin (a former professor at Iona), with guiding me to the school community in which I currently serve. My relationships built while at Iona have been invaluable and they have shown through the continued connections and my ability to grow professionally. Years after graduating, I had the pleasure of serving on Iona’s Board of Trustees. During my time on the Board, I witnessed the strength of our leaders and worked alongside those who care so deeply about the success of the University. It is clear that a strong sense of community begins from the top and serves as a model for all members of the Iona family.

What advice do you have for a current Iona student who wants to follow a similar path?
Be present, stay connected, be comfortable with being uncomfortable, and always remain humble. Iona provides the space for students to grow and to be challenged. I would encourage all students to take advantage of opportunities and build relationships with their classmates, professors, coaches, etc.

What seven words would your family and friends use to describe you?
Compassionate, enthusiastic, devoted, ambitious, reliable, passionate and strong.