Between 1992 and 1997, he taught, coached and was interim assistant principal at the school.
"I loved it here," says Criscione, "and it’s always been a dream of mine to return as principal." He adds, "It was a great fit for me when I was here and I knew I wanted to come back one day."
After WHS, Criscione spent time at Skyline High School in the Issaquah School District and then went on to head up Arlington High School for seven years before returning to Skyline last year, where he served as an assistant principal.
All told, he has been an educator in the state since 1983 and an administrator since 1992.
When asked to describe his strengths, Criscione mentions his abilities to motivate staff and be a strong leader. He also highlights his strong work ethic and approachability.
"It’s all about relationships," he explains. "Making relationships vital between staff, students and parents is the key, as is creating a culture that is built on the students."
Criscione says he has high expectations, noting, "I set the bar high for everyone, including myself, and I am constantly looking at ways for how we can make things better. To do this, you need to monitor, evaluate and critique on a consistent basis." He adds, "I am driven by data and facts."
Criscione believes in challenging kids at all levels and making learning relevant. "I think the rigor of challenging students wherever they’re at is essential in education. And you need to make learning meaningful to them in order for them to see how it can be applied and used in their lives."
Celebrating the successes of students and staff is also a priority with Criscione.
The new principal says he will spend much time listening and learning, as he gets to know the students and faculty and understands the culture of the school. He is looking forward to building relationships both within WHS and the greater community.
"Northshore is a great school district," he comments. "It has a reputation for striving for excellence and I know the community is very supportive of education. There is a sense of ownership here at the high school among all those involved, and you can really feel the spirit and pride."
As a principal, Criscione wears many different hats and he notes that adapting to each of these hats is essential to his job. He emphasizes the need to understand what is required for each role he assumes. In regards to accessibility, Criscione is a firm believer in an open door policy.
He will have a visible presence on campus and take part in school activities and events, as well as visit classrooms on a consistent basis.
"I want to be out and about where I can see what’s going on and talk to students and staff," he adds. Criscione is thrilled to be a part of the school during its remodeling process and comments on how the construction is being completed right on schedule.
"It’s a gorgeous facility and there’s a real excitement about the place. I feel lucky to be here at this time."
Criscione will be the first to tell you that being a high school principal involves much work and numerous challenges.
But, he embraces the job wholeheartedly, saying, "I love it. It’s my passion. And I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else." When he does have free time, however, he seeks out active, outdoor pursuits including running, hiking and scuba diving. He is also an avid traveler.