Introducing Mrs. Roussine

Introducing Mrs. Roussine

This year, St. Mary’s High School welcomes Mrs. Joelle Roussine, who will be serving as Dean of Students together with Mr. Ryan.  Mrs. Roussine’s work with adolescents facing challenges makes her an exceptional choice. She is also an alumna of St. Mary’s (Class of 2003). We are proud and delighted to have her!  

Mrs. Roussine studied at St. Thomas Aquinas College and New York University. She holds a master’s degree and license in social work. Some of her previous work during her undergraduate and graduate years includes working at the Veterans Hospital and serving as a school social worker at Glen Cove middle school. Mrs. Roussine has dedicated herself to serving those who need someone to foster their talents and bring out their best.

Nowhere is this more clear than in her work as a forensic social worker with the Legal Aid Society, where for eight years she assisted adolescents and young adults with oral advocacy and written negotiation. Mrs. Roussine saw her clients not for their misdeeds but as persons with inherent dignity, insisting that many of them experienced “issues stemming from childhood that linger on…and become their normal.” She helped them to find hope and in many cases go on to improve themselves and strive for excellence.  “No one wakes up and decides to become a criminal, especially not an adolescent,” she contends, “I had to speak to judges, on the record, potentially about someone’s life.”

Mrs. Roussine brings these gifts to her work at St. Mary’s. Speaking about her previous clients, she says, “Pushing them to do more than what was expected really helped.” She hopes to do the same for the students here, particularly by “helping them realize their self-worth as sons and daughters of God.” She understands that high schoolers face unique challenges. “I want to be a presence here, and help them thrive. There’s a lot of peer pressure in high school. It’s a cliche, but it’s real. I hope when I sit down with these kids, I can just help them realize there’s more than high school.” They are on their way to a fulfilling adult life and high school is part of the journey.

She would know that better than anyone. Mrs. Roussine speaks fondly of her alma mater–and in particular, of becoming part of the leadership in a school  that once shaped her life so profoundly. “This was my home, and now it’s my home again,” she smiles, “It’s surreal. I always had this place in the back of mind…it feels like I belong.” She makes particular note of the teachers. “The faculty when I was here really left an impression on me and truly are the heart of the school. Some of those who taught me are still here. I’m proud to be part of this team.”

She wants to create an impact of her own in another way: by setting an example as a successful professional and working mother. Mrs. Roussine is married with two young children. Her oldest attends St. Mary’s preschool. She hopes that when students realize she works full-time and also raises a family, they see that they really can have it all. Mrs. Roussine calls her family “everything…my main purpose.”

Mrs. Roussine is looking forward to connecting with the students and “bringing enthusiasm” to the role. She emphasizes that she wants to be “someone they can turn to.” Speaking directly to the student body, Mrs. Roussine offers her advice as a former Gael: “Don’t wish it away; there will be moments when it will be hard. It’s going to feel like you can’t handle it, but you can. You’re going to look back and see that these were some of the best years of your life. In every experience is the opportunity to learn from it, so embrace the moments, good and the not so good, because these experiences are shaping you into the adult you are meant to be.”