Kristen (Polakiewicz) Hada '05

Kristen Marie (Polakiewicz) Hada '05


Elementary and Special Education



Kristen Marie (Polakiewicz) Hada graduated from Daemen with a love of elementary and special education. She was inspired to be a dual major after taking just one special education methods class with Dr. Bruce Shields. He still remains a mentor to Kristen who has now been in the field of education for 18 years. Kristen is currently enrolled in a doctoral program at D'Youville University for educational leadership and has recently completed an educational leadership program at SUNY Fredonia. She has been teaching at the Maryvale School District in Cheektowaga NY for over 5 years.

What brought you to Daemen/Rosary Hill?

I wanted a smaller school, close to home that would allow me to build relationships with professors and fellow students.

Were you a commuter or resident?


What activities were you involved in as a student?

Sigma Phi Epsilon Delta- special education honor society
Volunteer for People Inc.
Education Club

Do you have a favorite professor, coach, mentor that impacted your life and experience at Daemen/Rosary Hill?

Dr. Bruce Shields was always a mentor for me. I entered Daemen with a focus on elementary education. After taking one special education methods class with Dr. Shields, I switched to be a dual major in both elementary and a special education. Dr. Shields was motivating and always made classes fun and interesting. Almost 20 years later, I am still in contact with him as he is still a mentor for me. He provides me with advice, support and is helping me as I work on completing my doctoral program. I am thankful for him and my experience at Daemen. Daemen helped me build a strong foundation for my career as an educational leader. I have now been in the field for education for 18 years..

What do you remember most vividly from your time at Daemen/Rosary Hill?

I remember going to classes and always having a lot of fun on campus! One of the first friends I made while attending Daemen is now my daughter's godfather. I had an amazing experience going through the education program. Being at Daemen, I never felt like I was just a number. I was able to make meaningful connections and relationships with all of my professors. I received a top notch education.

What have you been up to since graduation?

I am currently enrolled in a doctoral program at D'youville University for educational leadership and completed an educational leadership program at SUNY Fredonia. I have been at Maryvale School District in Cheektowaga NY for over 5 years now. My husband, 5 year old daughter Adelina and I live in the Maryvale School District as well. I began as Maryvale's 21st Century Community Learning Center Program Director for a year and a half. I spent four years as the high school assistant principal. In November of this year I became the principal at Maryvale Primary School. Before becoming a school leader I was a special education teacher, literacy specialist, behavioral specialist and curriculum coordinator

How did your experiences and education at Daemen/Rosary Hill prepare you for life after college?

Daemen helped prepare me and gave me a strong foundation as an educator as well as provided me with the interpersonal and work related skills to help me be successful in my current field.

How are you involved at Daemen as an alum?

I began as a student teacher adviser in August 2023 for Daemen. This is my second semester with the students.

What advice do you have for current and prospective students interested in Daemen?

Daemen University is an outstanding school! I always had a positive experience with teachers, students, advisors and teaching placements. My advice would be to get involved and start building relationships with positive individuals you meet. Chase your dreams, no matter how impossible they seem. You are stronger than you know!

For fun- List 3-5 fun facts about yourself that most people probably wouldn’t know.

  1. I am a certified Holistic Health Coach through the International Institute of Nutrition. I also work as a women's health coach helping women to balance hormones, improve gut health and being the healthiest versions of themselves.
  2. My family and I like to travel to Europe to visit our family overseas.
  3. I enjoy walking and exercising.
  4. My favorite author is Janet Evanovich of the Stephanie Plum Series