Educator In Fairfield County Named 2024 CT Principal Of Year

A Fairfield County principal has received two high honors: the 2024 Middle School Principal of the Year and the 2024 Connecticut State Principal of the Year.

Dr. Kristy Zaleta

Dr. Kristy Zaleta

Photo Credit: Danbury Public Schools

The Connecticut Association of Schools selected Dr. Kristy Zaleta, the principal of Rogers Park Middle School in Danbury, for both awards.

Now in her 21st year with Danbury Public Schools and her sixth year as principal of Rogers Park, Zaleta has consistently demonstrated her commitment to fostering a positive and inclusive school environment, said officials with Danbury School.

Before her current role, Zaleta was the associate principal of instruction for the three middle schools in Danbury, collaborating with departments and building administrations to create productive learning environments for all students. 

Her career in education began at Rogers Park Middle School, where she spent 10 years as an 8th-grade science teacher. 

During this time, she was honored as Danbury’s 2013 Teacher of the Year and received the Connecticut Excellence in Middle School Science Teaching Award.

Dr. Kara Casimiro, Danbury’s Superintendent, commended Zaleta:  “Kristy sets a high bar for data-driven work in her school. As a result, the culture around evidence-based decision-making has grown under her leadership. She is an example for other leaders to follow.”

Education is a second career for Zaleta. Before becoming an educator, she worked as a research scientist for eight years. 

She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Montclair State University, a master of science in education with a concentration in instructional technology, and a doctorate in instructional leadership from Western Connecticut State University, where she also serves as an adjunct professor.

The district said Zaleta’s leadership at Rogers Park Middle School is marked by her unwavering commitment to equity, school climate, and student achievement. 

Under her guidance, the school has implemented a multi-year focus on culturally and linguistically responsive teaching, ensuring that all teachers are equipped to meet the diverse needs of their students. 

In addition, her open-door policy and emphasis on shared leadership have fostered strong relationships with staff and students, encouraging open communication and feedback. 

She will be honored during ceremonies later this year. 

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