Quincy High School Principal Frank Santoro will retire after 42 years in public education, the administrator announced this week.
The Principal for Quincy High for the past eight years, Santoro started his career in education in Boston Public Schools, staying there for 10 years. Soon he transitioned to Brookline Public Schools, where he worked for 17 years.
A lifelong Quincy resident, Santoro brought his educational expertise back to his hometown in 1999, when he applied and became the principal of Central Middle School. Several years later, he would transition to the High School level.
Overall, it’s been quite a ride, Santoro said in an interview, and leaving will be bittersweet.
“This will be the first Labor Day that I didn’t go to school in over 60 years. So I will miss it. I will miss especially the connections I’ve made with staff and students,” he said.
According to Santoro, throughout his teaching tenure, his greatest accomplishments have been designing a brand new high school in Quincy for the 21st century able to focus interdisciplinary instruction, and also creating a teachers network to help solve problems.
The retirement announcement isn’t much of a shock to his colleagues, yet Santoro said the support he’s received has been welcome.
“People kind of knew today it became real official, the superintendent will announce at tonight’s school committee meeting. People have been coming down to congratulate me and thank me. It’s a nice feeling to know you will be missed,” he said.
Quincy Superintendent Richard DeCristofaro agreed that Santoro will be tremendously missed in the school community.
“Though he’s principal and has so many administrative duties that principals’ have, what Frank did was he finds time to make those connections to students that many high school principals probably have a difficult time doing along with so many other tasks,” DeCristofaro said in an interview. “He’s made that his focus in Quincy, whether Central Middle School or Quincy High, he’s always been focused on his students and their needs first.”
DeCristofaro complimented Santoro on also having a constant presence in the school community, attending all arts and athletic events.
“Quite frankly, if Mr. Santoro wanted to stay for another 10 years, I would love that,” DeCristofaro said.
DeCristofaro said the process to find a new principal had not begun, but most likely it would occur shortly before the April break.
“Hopefully [we will be] working with the school committee and staff on ... our hiring process to involve as many stakeholders as possible,” he said. “Maybe with the right process, [we would be] coming out with a time that would have some transition of the new principal with Mr. Santoro.”
Quincy High is the second Quincy school to have principal turnover within the last year, following Earl Metzler’s leaving North Quincy High last summer.
Despite the new staff, DeCristofaro said transitioning another school to a new administrator wouldn’t be problematic.
“There is a tremendous amount of support at both high schools; the administrative support with the department heads, with the deans, and assistant principals, and we also have tremendous parental support,” DeCristofaro said. “As long as those are strong, the transition will be one that is successful.”