New high school princ­pal named

The Board of Ed­u­ca­tion unan­i­mously ap­proved the hir­ing of Frank Riz­zuto as the school’s new head. He suc­ceeds John H. Fi­dler II, who died July 30 while hik­ing Mount Katad­hin in Maine with his fam­ily.

The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT) - - FRONT PAGE - By Jeff Mill

EAST HAMP­TON — A South Wind­sor ed­u­ca­tor has been cho­sen as the new prin­ci­pal for East Hamp­ton High School.

The Board of Ed­u­ca­tion unan­i­mously ap­proved the hir­ing of Frank Riz­zuto as the school’s new head. He suc­ceeds John H. Fi­dler II, who died July 30 while hik­ing Mount Katad­hin in Maine with his fam­ily.

Riz­zuto will be­gin work­ing on a tran­si­tion with in­terim Prin­ci­pal Nancy Briere Dec. 12, and will take over as prin­ci­pal Jan. 7, Su­per­in­ten­dent of Schools Paul K. Smith said. Riz­zuto is as­so­ciate prin­ci­pal at South Wind­sor High School, a po­si­tion he has held for the past six years.

“Frank has a mag­netic per­son­al­ity that puts peo­ple at ease,” Smith said in an­nounc­ing Riz­zuto’s hir­ing.

“I feel like he’s a great fit” for the high school, Smith said.

He was cho­sen from among 30 ap­pli­cants, Smith said.

“That’s a pretty good num­ber for a prin­ci­pal’s po­si­tion,” Smith said, adding, “I was very pleased with the qual­ity of the can­di­dates.”

“We put them through an ex­ten­sive round of in­ter­views,” Smith said of the ap­pli­cants.

Smith as­sem­bled a 28-mem­ber in­ter­view panel, made up of eight

stu­dents, four par­ents and 16 teach­ers, Smith said.

The panel then di­vided into two com­mit­tees that met with the in­di­vid­ual can­di­dates.

One com­mit­tee dis­cussed aca­demics, while the other com­mit­tee dis­cussed school and stu­dent life with the ap­pli­cants, Smith said.

It was an op­por­tu­nity for the can­di­dates to demon­strate that they would be a good fit for the school and for the town, Smith said.

A Glas­ton­bury res­i­dent, Riz­zuto is mar­ried to a teacher.

The cou­ple “have twin boys who are just about to turn 1-year-old,” Smith said.

Riz­zuto in­tro­duced his wife Sarah and the boys, Mat­teo and Raphael, at the school board meet­ing dur­ing which his hir­ing was ap­proved.

Riz­zuto earned a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in po­lit­i­cal sci­ence from the Univer­sity of Connecticut in 1997.

He sub­se­quently earned a master’s de­gree in teach­ing from Sa­cred Heart Univer­sity in 2001 and a six-year ad­min­is­tra­tion cer­tifi­cate from UConn in 2010.

In 2001, he be­gan as a so­cial stud­ies teacher at South Wind­sor High School, while also serv­ing as var­sity girls ten­nis coach.

He con­tin­ued in that po­si­tion un­til 2012, when he stepped up to be­come one of three as­so­ciate prin­ci­pals at the school.

He had served as ad­min­is­tra­tive in­tern­ship at Bolton High School from 2008-10 to pre­pare for the tran­si­tion to ad­min­is­tra­tion, ac­cord­ing to his re­sume.

Smith said Riz­zuto has also par­tic­i­pated in two ac­cred­i­ta­tion re­views on be­half of the New Eng­land As­so­ci­a­tion of Schools and Colleges.

The high school is com­ing up on a NEASC re­view.

Riz­zuto is ex­cited by the prospect of tak­ing over as prin­ci­pal, Smith said.

Given the cir­cum­stances that led to his ap­point­ment, “he also un­der­stands what he’s walk­ing into,” Smith said.

“He is aware that he has to be sen­si­tive to tra­di­tion while also be­ing able to move the school for­ward in a new di­rec­tion,” Smith said.

In the in­ter­view process, Riz­zuto was asked di­rectly about nav­i­gat­ing that dif­fi­cult path of both hon­or­ing Fi­dler’s legacy while steer­ing the school in a new di­rec­tion, Smith said.

In re­sponse, Smith said, Riz­zuto in­di­cated he has a sin­cere in­ter­est in be­ing here to be­gin the tran­si­tion.

“He’s ex­cited about the op­por­tu­nity of com­ing to East Hamp­ton and as well as the op­por­tu­nity to be­gin mov­ing the school in a new di­rec­tion,” Smith said.

Smith also ac­knowl­edged that he would have had to be­gin the process of find­ing a new prin­ci­pal over the next cou­ple of years.

With­out say­ing so di­rectly, Fi­dler had sig­naled he was go­ing to be­gin wind­ing down his 27-year ca­reer at the East Hamp­ton school, Smith said.

That fact in no way lessens the con­tin­u­ing sense of loss that he and the school com­mu­nity feel about Fi­dler’s death, Smith said.


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