Published in the July 6, 2015 edition

The following is from Dr. Stephen Zrike, outgoing superintendent of the Wakefield public school system.

Wakefield Community,

As my tenure as Wakefield superintendent comes to a close, I want to express my gratitude to the citizens of this fine town for their encouragement and support over the last two years. From the start, I was overwhelmed by the warm welcome I received and the unwavering commitment to supporting the schools. Admittedly, I knew very little about Wakefield when I arrived and now leave with a profound respect and great appreciation for the community. Specifically, I have learned the following:

• Town administrator Steve Maio is a strong leader who understands how critical education is to the viability of any community. He has eagerly partnered with the schools to ensure that the next generation receives the experience that they deserve.

• The School Committee’s only agenda is to better serve its students. They are instructionally focused and their decisions are always student centered.

• The most dedicated educators in the Commonwealth staff Wakefield’s schools. Their ethic and commitment are unmatched, their openness to new ideas is laudable and their flexibility/patience with so much local and national change is remarkable. Whether or not they are from Wakefield, they love the town and care deeply for the community’s children.

• Never underestimate the power of community pride. Wakefield’s strength is rooted in its passion for its traditions, rich history and its enthusiasm for Warrior nation.

• Civility still matters in Wakefield. As I stated in my graduation comments, Wakefield is a community that defines success not exclusively by an SAT score or whether you secure an athletic scholarship but rather by the quality of individuals it produces. Kindness, thoughtfulness and human decency are important in Wakefield.

• At its core, Wakefield is a community that values and celebrates hard work, grit and perseverance.

I am proud to have had the opportunity to lead the Wakefield Schools. It is rewarding to have worked in a town that demonstrates that children come first and that the community is serious about providing its youth with exemplary schools. I have the utmost confidence that the District will continue to move forward in its pursuit of excellence under the leadership of Dr. Smith. Simply put, she is one of the finest educators with whom I have ever worked and an individual who has dedicated her career to Wakefield. It will bring me great joy to watch the Wakefield Public Schools soar for years to come.

With immense appreciation and gratitude,