Joseph Rizzo had been the executive director since February 2017. His wife, Teresa, will carry the baton.
from: Flagler County Education Foundation
The Flagler County Education Foundation Board of Directors has selected Teresa Rizzo as the new executive director, succeeding her late husband, Joseph Rizzo, who had been the executive director since February 2017. Teresa Rizzo will be the fourth executive director in the foundation’s history.
The Ed Foundation is a direct-support organization for Flagler Schools, dedicated to generating financial support and enhancing programs that benefit students, families and teachers.
The search committee included Dr. Jennifer Thornton, the current Board president, as well as Ann Marie Zweifel, Victoria Tiehen, Maria Lavin-Sanhudo, Jennifer Ames and Ronald Tortelli.
“We are honored to have a lifelong educator leading this organization into the future," the board said. "Teresa’s passion for the children of Flagler County is apparent and will serve the Flagler County Education Foundation well.”
Teresa Rizzo comes to the Ed Foundation after becoming a state regional literacy director for the Florida Department of Education in 2021. She was a teacher in Flagler Schools for 14 years before discovering her passion for instructional coaching and educational leadership. In 2019, she accepted a position as a literacy instructional coach at Wadsworth Elementary with the aspiration of one day joining the Florida Department of Education working with struggling schools across the state to close the achievement gap.
Teresa Rizzo has been a business owner and displays exemplary leadership attributes, the board said, with deep local roots.
“I am honored to be chosen to continue and elevate the remarkable legacy of the Flagler County Education Foundation that flourished under the adored Joe Rizzo," Teresa Rizzo said. "The kids of Flagler County are our future. The foundation’s mission will continue to expand and provide opportunities kids might not have been afforded without the support of the foundation.”
Teresa Rizzo earned a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education with a concentration in Sports Medicine. Upon graduating, she pursued her senior internship at Flagler Palm Coast High School. She then became a graduate student in the Educational Leadership program at Stetson University in 2019. During her time there, she was nominated by her professors for the Stetson Vibrant Leadership Award and to deliver the commencement address at her graduation.
In a phone interview with the Observer, Flagler County School Board Chair Trevor Tucker commended the board's selection.
“She knows a lot of the donors already,” Tucker said. “And she knows more about the education side than Joe did, so I think it's a good fit.”
The Ed Foundation will hold a meet-and-greet for the community on May 24, at the Government Services Building to welcome Teresa Rizzo.
Visit FlaglerEdFoundation.org, or contact Teresa Rizzo directly at [email protected].