2014-02-14 / Front Page

Assistant superintendent to retire

By Alex Acquisto
Staff Writer

Sara Zito Sara Zito KENNEBUNK – After serving the district for nearly eight years, Assistant Superintendent Sara Zito is retiring. The announcement was made by Superintendent Andrew Dolloff at the Feb. 3 school board meeting – just before Dolloff publicly announced his resignation.

Zito has been assistant superintendent for RSU 21 since 2011; before that she was the principal of Kennebunk Elementary School for five years.

“She is the consummate professional,” Dolloff said of Zito, with whom he has worked for three years. “You know she cares deeply about students and their academic, social, and emotional progress, and she has a tremendous wealth of knowledge about how to reach students and the type of programming that would be beneficial to them.”

“She came to us with a teaching and leadership background that took her from New York to Seattle to Kenya and New Delhi,” Dolloff said. “Her experience, knowledge and compassion are just a few of the tremendous things she can bring to the table. I’m very happy for her that she’s able to do this now while she still has a tremendous amount of energy and good health,” Dolloff said.

Zito, perhaps unlike other assistant superintendents, opts for a very hands-on approach.

“She’s done a tremendous amount of work bringing our curriculum up to today’s standards and has really been the leading force behind the restructuring of our teacher evaluation model. And these are all things we have to have done by law heading into the next few years,” Dolloff said. “I find, after talking with administration in other districts, that we are well ahead of the field in the planning of these programs, and that is largely due to Sara’s leadership,” Dolloff said.

Said Zito, “We have much to be proud of, in terms of programs and initiatives advanced by teachers and administrators, such as the STEM Scholar Program and other STEM-related activities, wellness, Common Core classes at KHS, the Reading to Learn model, the integration of robotics, the wide range of Response to Intervention activities for all learners, and the thoughtful implementation of the Common Core State Standards across the disciplines.”

“I hope that I have helped promote innovation and effective practice in the interest of students. Our teachers demonstrate incredible passion for learning new strategies and for helping students achieve, based on research and data. As I hear teachers talk about their work with enthusiasm and pride, I feel we’re on the right track,” Zito said. “The staff has also enthusiastically embraced a new model for educator effectiveness and the spirit of collaboration is inspiring. With all that we have accomplished, I’m grateful to the parents and community for their support.”

Zito said yes to both when she was asked if she will continue volunteering and working part time in retirement. “Through activities such as Captains’ Club, the Education Foundation of the Kennebunks and Arundel, and Literacy for ME, I’ve been privileged to collaborate with nonprofits who serve children and families, and I hope to find a way to give back to the community. I’m also interested in working in a part-time capacity, perhaps assisting schools with curriculum and professional development.”

Zito said she is looking forward to spending more time with friends and family.

“I am so looking forward to spending more time with my husband, John. He has made it possible for me to focus on my work for several years now, and it’s wonderful to think about focusing on us and spending time with our family and friends,” Zito said.

Zito and Dolloff will both step down from their posts on June 30.

The search committee for a new assistant superintendent will likely be formed later in the spring, once the superintendent position has been filled, Dolloff said.

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