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New principal arrives at Sanibel School

By Staff | Aug 10, 2016

The Sanibel School’s new principal, Chuck Vilardi. BRIAN WIERIMA

The credentials Sanibel School’s new principal Chuck Vilardi brings for the 2016-17 year lauds academic honors and a consistency every school would love to harbor.

Vilardi comes to the island with a bevy of experience in the Lee County School District, including 16 years of administrator experience, while being named “Administrator of the Year” by the Lee County School Counselors Association in 2009.

The schools in which he helped run, consistently finished with high marks, including his time as principal at Pine Island Elementary for the last four years and as the principal at Skyline Elementary for nine years, which led it to become a Model School.

He was an assistant principal at North Fort Myers Academy of the Arts K-8 School, with other honors including “Teacher of the Year” in 1993, along with “Teacher of Distinction” and “Outstanding Young Man in America” in 1998.

Vilardi also knows Lee County, after growing up in Cape Coral after his family moved from New Jersey when he was a nine year old. It’s his time growing up in the area which he values, as well.

“I am really looking forward to the community support here on Sanibel,” Vilardi said. “It is very similar to my time on Pine Island, where the community rallied for the school and I know Sanibel supports their school very well.”

Vilardi’s main goal is to keep that connection between the community and school strong, making the students of Sanibel School stewards of the community.

“We want to embrace the community and tell our story through our children,” Vilardi said. “We want to work on allowing our children the art of giving back and producing good citizens, while learning what volunteering is all about.

“My big goal this year, is to connect with the community and use the resources we have right here.”

Vilardi is encouraging more field trips for students to go off campus, but to stay on the island. Instead of traveling all the way to the Keys, students will instead stay on island and have hands on experience with the many different various businesses and organizations on Sanibel.

“We will work on having fun and producing memories for the kids,” Vilardi said. “This year will be about connections, about connecting with the community and staff.”

Sanibel School will have an enrollment of about 350 students, with several being off island from parents who work on Sanibel.

The size of the school is an advantage Vilardi also likes, with the student-to-teacher ratio a positive, but also the ability of getting to know every student by name.

Building those strong bonds between staff and student is an advantage Sanibel School has over many other larger schools and the new principal wants to foster that.

“We want the students to know that they will be cared about,” Vilardi said. “It’s not all just about learning, but building that relationship and connecting that with what they are learning. We have great kids out here, but we will also expect each to treat one another with respect.”

With Wednesday, Aug. 10, being the first day of school, Vilardi said the staff is ready to welcome all the students back for another good year of learning and making fun memories.

“The staff is ready, we are good to go,” Vilardi added.

Vilardi has two children, Carly and Nicholas. Carly is a student at the University of Central Florida, while Nicholas attends Cape Coral High School.

Jamie Reid returns as assistant principal, after joining the Sanibel School staff last year.