WAKEFIELD — Superintendent of Schools Dr. Stephen K. Zrike has announced that Maria Monks Serrao will be the new director of Facilities and Transportation for Wakefield’s public schools effective tomorrow, July 1.

Serrao replaces Peter Evangelista, who had held the position for 28 years. In 2000, he was appointed supervisor of custodians. Serrao will earn $85,000 for the period July 1 through June 30, 2016.

Following discussions among town officials, it was decided earlier this year to redefine the schools Facilities Director position held by Evangelista. School board members approved the measure at their Tuesday, April 14 meeting.

Zrike, schools’ Business Administrator Michael Pfifferling, Permanent Building Committee and Board of Appeals member Chip Tarbell and the town’s Business Operations Manager Carol Antonelli were all in agreement that the Facilities Director should also oversee transportation for the schools.

“Mr. Evangelista has been encouraged to apply (for the redefined position) if he is interested in the new role,” said Zrike, adding that the responsibilities of his current role are being “elevated.” The exact salary had yet to be determined but Evangelista’s salary was $85,000.

Zrike also commented in April that the Early Childhood Center and Galvin Middle School are new assets to the school district that must be overseen.

According to the new job summary, Serrao will be considered an administrator of Wakefield’s schools and is responsible for the safe and efficient operation of the school facilities and oversight of its transportation program. She will organize, administer and lead a comprehensive program of custodial services that provide all students and staff with an academic environment that is safe, clean, attractive and conducive to learning.

As transportation director, she also will coordinate and oversee an operationally sound and service oriented program.

The role also will call for facilities budget work, a review of related policies and procedures, record maintenance and collaboration with the Department of Public Works, among others.

In his letter to the community, Dr. Zrike wrote that Serrao brings with her 20 years of experience in facilities management in both the private sector and higher education.

“She has strong experience — producing results during times of fiscal constraint, effectively balancing value with quality outcomes and supporting a team to effectively manage and maintain facilities,” Zrike wrote.

Serrao worked as the Director of Facilities for Merrimack College for the past several years as well as being manager of administrative services for DentaQuest, Inc. for nearly 17 years. She holds a bachelor of arts degree from Regis College.

“Through the interview process, Mrs. Serrao impressed us with her knowledge, passion and commitment to collaboration,” said Zrike. “Additionally, she shared a desire to improve processes, increase professional development for staff and provide the highest quality environment for our students. Finally, her background in project management facility planning and risk management will be important assets in her new position.”

A call to Evangelista was not returned.

Published in the June 30, 2015 edition