Final Notes from Dr. Azar
1) What was the biggest challenge (or challenges) you faced during your time as Superintendent of D-R?
• Building a budget that created opportunities for our students while balancing the financial stability in both of our district municipalities.
• Creating a whole new educational program due to the pandemic
• Creating efficiencies within the operational budget to support education while maintaining the fiscal sustainability of our two towns.
• Bringing our athletic fields up to speed
• Calling snow days
2) How is the regional school district now compared to when you first started on the job?
• There is continuity across campuses in developing programs, budget and curriculum
• The school district and the towns (Dighton-Rehoboth) are in much better financial shape.
• Having an open door for all stakeholders to meet with me and discuss ideas due in part because I have lived in town for two decades, I have had the pleasure of discussing positive school experiences with so many people who felt a comfort level of coming up to me while I was coaching baseball, basketball or soccer whether or not at the gas station or in line getting coffee, that's a camaraderie that has been unique to my superintendency and the ties I have to both Dighton and Rehoboth have made parents and staff reassured that I have made decisions with the best interest of those town residents and their children in mind
3) What are you most proud of regarding your time as Superintendent of D-R?
• Creating a full day kindergarten program fully funded over my entire tenure (8years)
• Refurbishing our athletic facilities at the high school including a brand new gymnasium floor, a refurbished soccer field, baseball field, softball field, football field, Track and tennis courts.
• Recognizing student achievement during school committee meetings
• Working collaboratively with the TRANE Corporation to add solar arrays to our parking lots while saving thousands of dollars in electricity costs.
• Establishing Library Card Night for our students to utilize both Rehoboth and Dighton’s libraries.
• Making sure that all roofs were replaced and where necessary windows and doors were replaced.
• Adding brand new HVAC systems to all of our schools.
• Creating a T.E.A.M (Together Everyone Achieves More) approach to every decision with students in mind
• Creating a high functioning administrative team
• Working with an incredible staff at all levels.
• Establishing educational walkthroughs of all schools to evaluate our professional development and to visit with students and staff
• Increasing security in all of our schools
• Erecting a greenhouse on the Dighton campus
• Proud to know that there no town layoffs as we worked to provide the best educational opportunities for our students without impacting our two municipalities
• Seeing improvements to the middle school sports facilities including a new scoreboard in Dighton's gymnasium, participating in and seeing Palmer River's playground get some TLC, outside improvements to campuses as well as bringing back Beckwith's girls home softball field and scheduling a further update to the girls softball field.
• Working with the Town of Dighton to establish additional space at Dighton Elementary with the additional classrooms
• Working with the Town of Rehoboth to add additional parking at Palmer River Elementary school and adding another egris to the campus
• Receiving the Educator of the Year award from the Lions Club
• Receiving a wonderfully crafted Adirondack chair and footrest made by our own CTE D-R students and a plaque with the words "dedicated educator of 40 years"
• On a personal and important note, handing my daughter her high school diploma and visiting my son’s classes during our educational walkthroughs.
4) What was the biggest disappointment during your time as Superintendent?
• Trying to understand what the social emotional impact the pandemic had on our students, staff and families.
• The pandemic's rippling effect on student participation and achievement.
• No one had ever experienced a pandemic before and we all had to learn a whole new way to approach the delivery of our educational programs.
• Knowing what parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles and next door neighbors all had to do to become fill-in teachers overnight.
• Feeling the impact of the pandemic on our students we developed a multitude of ways for students to have enrichment opportunities during vacation weeks and the summer for educational recovery.
5) What advice would you give to your successor, Bill Runey?
To be honest, transparent, approachable, kind and always consider how your next decision will impact kids and hold tight, there are rapids ahead.
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