NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- In her 28 years serving New Rochelle schools, Dr. Diane Massimo has been instrumental in projects that have changed the face of education across the district. Now the Associate Superintendent of Schools, who began in 1989 as coordinator of guidance and of high school pupil personnel services, is stepping down.
The programs Massimo established or worked on include creating a developmental school counseling curriculum, creating the annual college night, implementing an initiative to expand the number of students who take Advanced Placement courses and providing teacher training in "differentiated instruction," in which educators use varied approaches for different students geared toward how they learn best.
"It's been a wonderful experience in a wonderful district," she said. "I really have valued the diversity that this district has and the opportunity to collaborate and partner with so many talented teachers and administrators. They deeply care about the kids, and that's what it's all about - changing lives."
Over the years, Massimo collaborated with language arts chairperson Leslie Altschul to organize literature festivals, and with math department chairperson Ronald Morris to establish summer classes to keep students to take accelerated and Advanced Placement courses.
One of the literature festivals served to kick off the district's teaching of Mandarin. Events spanned the grades, with books depicting Chinese culture, memoir writing workshops, tai chi instruction and Chinese food provided in the cafeteria.
"The initiatives that Diane Massimo worked on, often in collaboration with others, have improved education on all levels in the New Rochelle schools," said Superintendent Dr. Brian Osborne. "Her child-centered approach to education has brought us many programs that will enhance students' learning experiences and lives for many years to come. We appreciate her service and wish her all the best."
Massimo, a member of Osborne's cabinet, is one of 44 staff members across the district who are retiring this year, a list that includes teachers, administrators and other staff members.
During her time in the district, Massimo held several positions. After serving almost 12 years as coordinator of guidance, she was named assistant superintendent for secondary education in 2001. Seven years later, she became the districtwide assistant superintendent, a job she held until she was named associate superintendent of schools in November 2013.
Massimo has several ideas for projects to take on now that she's retiring, including traveling and learning Italian. "And I have a pile of books that I'm just dying to read," she said.