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June 18, 2013

Viccaro: 'I expect to do a lot of listening'

New Port superintendent brings passion for lifelong learning

NEWBURYPORT — When Susan Viccaro becomes the superintendent of Newburyport Public Schools later this summer, it will seem like a homecoming for the Essex native.

“That’s really what drew me to Newburyport — to be back on the North Shore,” Viccaro said. She has three sisters and 10 nieces and nephews in the area, and is thrilled to be able to take a job that fits her career aspirations and her desire to be close to family, she said.

Although she is familiar with the area, Viccaro recognizes that it will take time to get to know the school system.

“I want to spend the first six months or so getting to know staff, students and families,” she said. “I expect to do a lot of listening, to really get my arms around what the issues are and in what directions we need to head.”

Viccaro said that through the interview process she heard a lot about the strengths of the school district and was also exposed to some of the staff’s concerns.

“I really need to just get up there and do a lot of listening,” she said. “I want to talk to every staff member and get to know people.” Viccaro plans to host regular office hours, where parents, students and community members can voice their thoughts and concerns on the school district.

“It’s very much about me doing some outreach once I’m up there,” she said.

Viccaro comes to Newburyport with a strong background in managing a school system. She has been the superintendent in Regional School District 13 in Connecticut for nine years. During that time, she has instituted all-day kindergarten in the district and has overseen the writing of four, five-year strategic plans.

“I’m very proud that I have had a hand in each of those plans in some manner, shape or form, and I have led the last two,” she said.

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