The plans included the institution of five core ethical values for the district — respect, responsibility, kindness, courage and honesty.
“I am very passionate about the five core values,” Viccaro said. “I hold every student and every staff member accountable for those on a daily basis. I think it has really helped to create an atmosphere where students are comfortable, and where we can all be life-long learners in a very positive school climate.”
For Viccaro, the pursuit of knowledge is never-ending.
“I want every student and staff member to understand what it means to be a life-long learner, and to be courageous enough to try new things,” she said. “I also want us to offer a wide enough range of opportunities that we are providing every student with an appropriate education.”
Viccaro was first inspired to become an educator by her grandmother, an elementary school teacher. “She was the biggest influence on me wanting to have a career in education,” she said.
After graduating from Gloucester High School, she got a job at the Hogan Regional Center, a facility run by the Mass. Department of Developmental Services, where she worked with adults with intellectual disabilities.
Viccaro attended Fitchburg State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in special education and elementary education. After two years of teaching in Wolfeboro, N.H., she took a job in District 13 as a special education teacher for the middle and high schools. In 1995, she became the special education coordinator in Wethersfield, Conn., before returning to District 13 three years later to become the director of pupil-personnel services.
Through her years of teaching, she has been exposed to education at all ages.
“Even though I was in special education, I brought in team teaching, so I was also working with a lot of regular kids,” Viccaro said. “I have a lot of experience at middle and high schools. As the pupil-personnel coordinator, I ran the preschool program and an offsite program for young adults at Wesleyan University.”