School officials stayed in-house for Shelton Intermediate School principal, choosing someone not only known throughout the school but also the community.

Dina Marks, a lifelong Shelton resident with more than two decades experience in the district, was tabbed by the Board of Education Wednesday, July 31, to take the reins at the intermediate school, where she had been assistant principal for nearly 10 years.

“I am over the moon,” said Marks to those in attendance at Wednesday’s board meeting. “I’m more than honored to continue working for Shelton families. This is my hometown. I went through the Shelton schools. I’m a lifelong resident. I am so happy to have this opportunity.”

Marks comes off a school year in which she was named the 2019 Connecticut Association of Schools Middle School Assistant Principal of the Year award. Marks was chosen by the CAS Awards and Recognition Committee, a selection committee consisting of active and retired principals and assistant principals.

“Dina has been in the district for many years as a student, teacher and administrator,” said school Superintendent Dr. Chris Clouet. “She is highly regarded in the community. She is filling big shoes, but she is ready for the challenge.”

Marks replaces Ken Saranich, longtime intermediate school principal who was promoted to assistant superintendent in June. Saranich was the one who nominated Marks for the assistant principal of the year award.

“It is such a gift to have an assistant principal whom you can ask to perform any task, undertake any project or launch any initiative and you know it will be met with success,” said Saranich at the time Marks received the award. “She keeps getting better and better; and the building gets better and better along with her.”

Clouet praised Marks’ ability to “balance the complexities of the work of today’s assistant principal.

“Dina is a resourceful and skillful problem-solver and a good strategic planner,” said Clouet. “She has it all — the technical skills, the knowledge of curriculum and instruction, and, most importantly, a deep love for kids.”

Marks said that she was proud of earning the award, which she says “recognizes the dedication of all of our educators. It reflects the great work that happens every day in Shelton schools and in schools all over Connecticut.

“We have a great team,” added Marks. “I’m proud to be just a little piece of a great leadership team and a great faculty.”

Marks has served the Shelton public schools and community for her entire professional career. Now in her ninth year as assistant principal of SIS, Saranich said Marks tackles her ever-increasing responsibilities with the same passion and energizing leadership which she brought to the position upon her appointment in 2009.

Marks said her personal mission is to make SIS the most positive place it can be, and she is always looking for ways to create a welcoming and cheerful school environment. People who visit SIS on any given Friday will see her mission brought to life. Her weekly “High-five Fridays” tradition, popular among the student body, buoys kids’ spirits and fills the hallways with an aura of celebration and joyfulness.

“SIS is my extended family, and I lead our school as I do my family, with compassion and caring,” said Marks.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com