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Samuel Zalacca retires after 46-year career in education

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SNYDER — The students at Christ the King School will miss their long time principal, Samuel Zalacca, when he retires in June. He has been with the school since Prior to joining the school, he was at Our Mother of Sorrows School in Greece and St. Joseph School in Batavia for 11 years each. Over his 46-year career as an educator, he has received many awards. Most recently, he was presented with the Light the Night for Catholic Education award from the Catholic School Administrators Association of New York State.

When he started at the school nine years ago, his first order of business was to improve the technology available to the teachers and students. He took the school to the next level by making it a STREAM (science, technology, religion, engineering, arts and math) School that also emphasizes weekly STREAM Academies for all students. He also instituted the successful hot lunch program currently in place and brought back the annual school musical.

This past year, Zalacca led the effort to achieve accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Elementary and Secondary Schools. The process to become accredited is long and intense. It requires that every stakeholder in the school analyze their procedures to identify where the most impactful improvements can be made.

During retirement, Zalacca will focus on other areas of his involvement with the church. He is the parish organist at Our Lady of Mercy in LeRoy. As a member of the Historical Society in that town, one of his favorite tasks is giving tours of the Jell-O Factory as a docent. He is an active member of the Knights of Columbus and of the Church Musician Guild of the Diocese of Buffalo.

Zalacca’s exuberant character will be especially missed. During school, he could be seen dressed as Johnny Appleseed one day, and running down the hall to announce that the leprechauns had tinkered with a classroom on the next. The students, staff, teachers and families all wish him well in retirement.

Maria Wangler, the current vice principal, will be named principal for the upcoming school year. Wangler has been an educator for 30 years and has been with CTK for 12 years. She received her education at Buffalo State College, University at Buffalo and Canisius College. She stated, “I am an educator that molds young students into lifelong learners. Learning is something that happens and is built upon daily. I have a vested interest in seeing my students succeed.” Wangler
has been vice principal since 2017. Having taught at several grade levels, she is looking forward to bringing her experience and enthusiasm to her new role.

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