In the coming weeks Dr. Richard Sanzo, New Fairfield High School’s principal, will become the district’s chief financial, operations, and security administrator. His position in the school system’s central office comes as Craig McClain, long-serving business manager for the schools and town, steps down with plans for a relaxing retirement.
Of the position, Dr. Sanzo says, “I’m looking forward to bringing my educational background from several different positions and districts to the position. One area of particular interest for me is academic return on investment (A-ROI). A-ROI considers the programs we offer, investment needed, and resulting quantitative and qualitative metrics to aid in deciding whether to continue, expand, or sunset a program.”
At the December 6 Board of Education meeting, Dr. Pat Cosentino explained that there are some similarities to the position Mr. McClain held, but the role is also being expanded to capitalize on Dr. Sanzo’s skills. An example includes Dr. Sanzo’s description of being “responsible for overseeing the Board of Education operating and capital budget while at the same time coordinating security programs across the district and, in the future, developing a K-12 financial literacy curriculum.”
Dr. Sanzo explained that in addition to being excited about the job’s purview, he also had his young family in mind in taking the position, saying “An important factor for my wife and I when we weighed this new opportunity was the balance between school life and family life.” He is also “…looking forward to the professional growth opportunities my new position will provide as well as the chance to positively impact education across the district.”
Given the high level of respect he has in the district, there is a good amount of sadness among the students, parents, and faculty at the high school about the job switch. Board of Education Chair Peggy Katkocin acknowledged that at their recent board meeting saying that she congratulated him, but said “I’m heartbroken for my former colleagues…”
Dr. Sanzo says that he will miss “The students! I am very proud of our student body, both academically and as people. It has given me great joy to watch students grow and share in celebrating each one’s accomplishments.” In a recent letter to high school families he said, “As I take on this new role in our district, I am most thankful for being able to work directly with the students at the high school…It has been an honor to be part of the Rebel family.”
That being said, he has full confidence in the state in which he is leaving the school, “My leadership style is collaborative and distributive. As a result, many people have and will continue to contribute to the growth of the high school. I am confident that the high school is heading in the right direction.”
Regarding the change in leadership of both the business position and the newly-hired Director of Technology, Dr. Karen Fildes, who also taught for years, Craig McClain said, “The timing for an educator Director of Technology and an educator Business and Operations Director is now. This district will be very well served by both.”
Dr. Cosentino, in conjunction with the Board of Education, will be appointing an interim high school principal and beginning a search to fill the position in the coming weeks.
By Sarah Opdahl