2014-06-20 / Community

School district salutes key contributors

By Alex Acquisto
Staff Writer

KENNEBUNK — As the school year comes to a close, the Regional School Unit 21 board of directors honored select members of the district with awards on Monday evening.

Principal Susan Cressey presented Kennebunk High School Resource Officer Mark Carney with the Payson Hunter Award, which is given to a community member for outstanding dedication or service to the district.

“I can say many things about Mark,” Cressey said. “He knows how to walk that line between being respected by the students and being loved by the students.”

Cressey called Carney “proactive” and gave an example of Carney providing the opportunity for students to participate in apprenticeships with him at the high school.

Carney also started the “Do The Right Thing Award,” this year at the high school. If a student does something nice and an administrator or faculty members witnesses the act, the student’s name will be recorded. Those students are then awarded with a pizza party and certificate.

“He’s very visible about the building. I know I like having Mark there. ... I think it adds a sense of security to the building,” Cressey said. “But just the person he is adds security for all of us. We feel better because we know he’s in the building, and we all love Officer Carney.”

The Kennebunk High School varsity football team, which was undefeated 8-0 in the regular season and went on to win the Class B West championship and finish runner-up in the state, was honored with the sportsmanship award.

“This fall was a special time, it was a special time for the community ... these guys did a phenomenal job of getting everyone behind them,” said Joe Schwartzman, athletic director at the high school. “These guys were just playing the game.”

In addition to the noteworthy season, Head Coach Joe Rafferty earned his 150th win and was named the National Football Foundation Coach of the Year.

Assistant Superintendent Sara Zito was honored with the Special Achievement award. Superintendent Andrew Dolloff. referred to Zito as “the consummate professional.”

“Despite being in the final few months of working with us, Sara has pushed hard to place the district in a leading position to meet new state mandates regarding the implementation of proficiency-based education and a new educator evaluation model,” Dolloff said.

“Her work is always thoughtful and wellorganized, her intellect, experience and energy around innovative programs such as the STEM academy at the high school, the district-wide robotics program and the Julia Robinson Math Festival, will keep our schools moving forward for years to come.”

Monday’s meeting was the last one for both Dolloff and Zito, as Zito is retiring and Dolloff has accepted the superintendent position in the Yarmouth school system. Both will leave the district June 30.

Chairman Kevin Knight thanked Dolloff for “steering the ship for all of these years.”

“It’s been an incredible challenge as the communities of Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Arundel have begun to embark on this combined district,” Knight said. “I think having a steady hand at the till to control the ship ... certainly there’s been some rough seas.”

“Between withdrawal attempts and costsharing reviews, obviously not all of it has gone smoothly, but the constant has been that, again, that steady hand (Dolloff’s) at the till.”

What has been impressive to him, Knight said, is that “All of that chaos in the community-public interface has never really trickled in to the schools themselves.”

Dolloff thanked the members of the board who had the “confidence in me to appoint me to this position and to provide me with both the tools and the autonomy to steer the ship in the manner that I felt best.

“Certainly for a first crack at the superintendency for a district of this caliber, to provide me with that opportunity, is something that I will always appreciate.” Want to comment on this story? Visit our website at www.post.mainelymediallc.com and let us know your thoughts.

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