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November 16, 2021

By Robin Becker, Assistant Director of Communications, Institutional Engagement

Nikki Buccello, who joined the Ethical Culture Fieldston School this year as the Fieldston Upper Form III Dean, is excited to provide her students with as many moments of joy as possible. In her role, Buccello is guiding Form III students through the transition into Upper School and the return to fully in-person learning, and she plans to balance the challenges of these transitions with plenty of levity and fun. We sat down with Buccello to chat about the year.

What are you looking forward to this year?

So much! I am looking forward to spending time with my 9th Graders. I have met quite a few who have wandered into my office to say hello and stayed for candy and a quick chat. A big goal of mine is to be able to walk down the hallway and recognize every face and name. I also look forward to working closely with the Fieldston Student Government (FSG) representatives who have a ton of ideas for our Form this year. I want to plan some fun, stress-relieving opportunities. High school is hard enough to navigate; the students need to have some fun as well!

What do you see as an opportunity for this year?

For this academic year, I definitely want to take the full 9th Grade off campus one day. I really want them to enjoy a day of fun and bonding. Team building? Snowball fight in the park? I am open to all ideas. ECFS has taken great precautions during the pandemic, so any little signs of returning to “normal” should definitely be celebrated — in a physically distanced, safe way of course!

What is special to you about 9th Grade students? Why do you enjoy working with this age group?

I love that this is all new to them (just like it is to me, this year!) and they are excited to experience Fieldston Upper activities like the club fair, Pep Rally, and Homecoming. 9th Graders are willing to be silly with you and are just generally happy to be here. They instantly brighten your mood and are willing to try anything. Who wouldn’t want to work with them? Their energy energizes me!

What is your favorite TV show or book?

It’s hard to pick a favorite of any of these. I am definitely into comedy, and a show that ranks in my top five is “The Office.” I have been told by many people that I have a very readable face, so Jim Halpert’s character and I are basically twins. My most-read books would definitely be a tie between the Harry Potter series and “To Kill A Mockingbird.” I will never forget how engrossed I was when I first read “To Kill A Mockingbird” and the conversations that it sparked in my family. My parents were always involved in my education and no topic was off the table. Summer readings were followed by tests generated by my dad to prove I actually read the book. So when “To Kill A Mockingbird” was the required read, he made sure I recognized all the underlying themes the book offered.

Do you have a favorite spot on campus?

The Quad! Where else on campus do you see kids just being kids? It’s an area that gives off a chill vibe. At any moment during the day, you might see students hustling down hallways and running to class, but on the Quad you see students reading or having a nice chat with a teacher. It’s a space that inspires you to calm down and enjoy the day as much as you can.