Q/A with assistant principal Dr. Shannon Cunningham


Lenia Lange/Rider Media

Dr. Shannon Cunningham is excited about returning to Rider.

Dr. Shannon Cunningham is walking Rider’s halls again as a new assistant principal, replacing Sally Mroczkowski. Cunningham is excited for this school year and glad to be back to see all the familiar faces of Rider staff and administration. 

After getting her bachelor’s and master degrees, Cunningham earned a doctorate in Educational Leadership from North Texas in 2021. She is married to a Rider grad named Matt, and they have two kids named Riley and Reese and two dogs named Muggles and Peanut.

The Rider Chronicle sat down with Cunningham to discuss how she has been managing being the newest assistant principal this school year.

Q: Can you provide some information on your career background and job experience? 

A: Yes. I started my career in 1998 as a high school Spanish teacher and cross country and track coach in Naperville, Ill. I have worked as an administrator since 2004 in the Chicago suburbs, Round Rock and Wichita Falls. I have worked at Barwise, Head Start, Kirby and Rider as either an assistant principal or principal. I was the principal at Kirby for the last four years and I am excited to be back at Rider. 

Q: What influenced you into a career in education?

A:  I have always enjoyed teaching and coaching. I really loved the Spanish language. When I was in college, I was on a scholarship for the education program and was majoring in Spanish. I saw education as a way to equalize anyone from any socioeconomic background and I especially wanted to give a better voice to my Hispanic friends in public education who were not getting their needs met due to language and cultural barriers.

Q: How have you been finding yourself here at Rider? 

A: I love it here at Rider. The staff and students are friendly and helpful. I was here for a year before Kirby as an AP, so I am back in my same office and seeing many familiar and awesome faces. I am super glad to be back. 

Q: Are you excited for your first year at Rider?

A: It is my second, but it feels like my first. Some staff are different, students are different and my responsibilities are different than when I was here the first time. 

Q: What inspired your decision to work here at Rider as the new assistant principal?

A: I have always loved working at the secondary level, especially high school. Rider has a great reputation, doing awesome work with academics and amazing people who work hard. That inspired my decision and made it a no-brainer to want to be here.