I am grateful, humbled, and honored to write to you for the first time as your new Principal of the Oak Bluffs School community and I hope the summer finds you and your family happy and safe. Moreover, I extend my heartfelt gratitude and well wishes to Mr. Richie Smith for his many years of dedication and service to the OBS Family and will work hard to continue his legacy of learning, love, and excellence. Summer plans are already underway at school and our staff and faculty and School Committee are working tirelessly to complete the finishing touches for the 2015-2016 school year: general maintenance and strategic planning. With all this in mind, however, we miss your daughters and sons, but not before long, we'll be hearing the joyful sounds of lockers opening and closing, school bells ringing, and laughter.
I would like to take this opportunity to share with you my educational philosophy of "Students' First" which has guided my decisions over the past 28 years as a school leader be it Principal, Superintendent or Head of School serving children in grades PK-12 in public, private, and parochial schools. I believe educators must always put the best interest of our students first in our decisions and through unconditional love care enough to: challenge your daughters and sons each and every day to do and be their best; to support their hopes and dreams; to laugh and if need be, cry with them; to hold them accountable but discipline with dignity and a lessons learned approach; and to hire and support the best regarding our faculty and staff.
I believe parent(s) are the first, best, and most influential teachers in a child's life. As an educator and father of 3 grown children (and 2 Granddaughters) my wife and I live this credo 100%. That being stated, I will add that Mr. Hart and I and the entire faculty and staff of OBS are professionals with high expectations and are here to serve your kids. Our service will enhance the work you do as a parent in your child's educational journey. Moreover, our team of educators will extend to your daughters and sons unconditional love and thus when it comes to communicating concerns that you may have, it is my expectation that you will first go to the appropriate source be it the teacher, coach, etc. If the concern or issue remains unresolved, it should proceed to the next level to either Mr. Hart or me and if still unresolved to Central Office.
You will find that my style is very "hands on" which translates to me visiting the classrooms every day as well as attending the various functions pertaining to academics, the arts, and athletics. This is by intention as it's important for me to get to know you and your kids as well as the wonderful faculty and staff I serve and lead. By the winter of 2016, I hope to conclude my structured interviews with the entire paid teachers/staff in addition to our Central Office and elected officials. I also invite parents to come in for a structured interview anytime and please keep in mind that I will ask the same questions of you that I ask anyone else keeping your responses in strict confidence. If you would like to visit, please reach out to Michelle Bettencourt to schedule an appointment.
In closing, once again please know that I am deeply grateful to serve and lead you and your children and the entire OBS community. Even though my wife Anne Marie and I have spent most of the last decade in Hawaii, I am a native New Englander born and raised in an Italian-American family in Western Massachusetts. However, ever since I was a boy I have loved everything about the Cape and the Islands with fond memories of past vacations, hockey trips and lacrosse trips, as a child, parent and Grandparent!
For now, I wish you a relaxing and enjoyable summer making memories with your family and friends and invite you to stop by this summer to say hi if you're in the area. Also - please encourage your kids to read at least 20 minutes a day for pleasure as a love of literacy can go a long way! I look forward to getting to know your daughters and sons and wish you Much Aloha Always! Thank you!
Dr. Jacky Rizzo