Headmaster Famulari strikes a balance


Mr. Famulari

Autumn Chase, Editor

If you look around the cafeteria during lunch on any given day, you’ll see Mr. Famulari, PA’s headmaster (although Mr. Famulari prefers the title “principal”), dressed in shirt and tie, serving his lunch duty. 

Mr. Famulari is the public face of Pembroke Academy’s students and staff, but there is much more to the man than most might know.

Before working a job as an assistant dean at PA, Mr. Famulari taught history at Spaulding High School for four years and a year at Oyster River.

A career in education, however, was not always in his plans. Originally, Mr. Famulari attended University of New Hampshire, aspiring to be a lawyer, before switching the focus of his studies.

“I changed my mind for various reasons,” said Mr. Famulari. “One day, I found myself very unhappy so I changed my course. Up until that point, I had a very clear idea in my head of what I wanted to do.” 

But education these days is very different from when Mr. Famulari was in high school at St. Thomas Aquinas. The interactions were different, he said.

“No one used to have conversations with their administrators, and you’d only talk to your principal when you were in trouble,”said Mr. Famulari.

Mr. Famulari says that he enjoys that students at Pembroke Academy trust their teachers and administrators enough to ask for guidance and help when they need it.

Social media also wasn’t yet on the radar, and students weren’t constantly under a microscope.

“I believe that we have to be way more mindful of what we put online than ever before. The messages we put out there don’t ever go away,” he said. “Students, especially, can miss out on scholarships and future job opportunities based on their social media profiles today.”

Aside from his role as principal, Mr. Famulari balances a family and fatherhood.

His dual roles raising young children and shaping Pembroke Academy into the positive learning environment doesn’t come without its difficulties.

“By far, the most difficult part of my career and my personal life is trying to maintain the balance,” Mr. Famulari said. “A lot of times you bring your work home with you, and it’s hard to shut off the work switch, even if you’re home, in order to make time for your family.”

It’s like wearing two hats, Mr. Famulari said. When it’s time to leave work for the day, he has to make a conscious effort to leave his “principal hat” on his desk and put his “dad hat” on at home.

Mr. Famulari said he wants the school community to know that  “the good at Pembroke Academy far outweighs the bad.”

“I just wish that was mainstream and not all of the negative,” he said.

Unless, of course, you leave your trash on the table during his lunch duty. That’s roundly negative.