VENICE — The new Venice High School principal, Zoltan Kerestely, recently took over as head administrator for the facility.
“Looking forward to the great relationships I’m going to build with the teachers, students and the community,” Kerestely said. “I’m just excited to be here.”
Kerestely started his career in Prince Edward County, Virginia teaching science, biology and environmental science.
While at the school in Virginia, Kerestely said he brought in a bio-medical science program through Project Lead The Way, a nonprofit organization that develops STEM curricula in schools.
He then moved up to administration positions including assistant principal and eventually principal.
But like many others from up north, Kerestely and his family decided to make the move to Florida for the warmer weather and conveniently before his younger children started school.
“We love it,” Kerestely said. “Like many people we kinda got tired of the cold weather and snow.”
Around four years ago, Kerestely joined Sarasota County Schools and worked various roles at North Port High School.
He began as an assistant principal and then moved up to assistant principal of administration.
“At North Port, we had a lot of great accomplishments while I was there,” Kerestely said. “The team brought the school up to an ‘A’ school, we also raised the graduation rate up to 95%.”
He said they also lowered and decreased the achievement gap and improved student achievements schoolwide.
Now, Kerestely said he is ready for his new role.
“I want to continue that level of excellence,” Kerestely said. “In the words of Eric Jackson, it is a well-oiled machine, so I just want to come in and make sure everything runs smoothly.”
Through various leadership opportunities from the schools, Kerestely said he already knew former Principal Eric Jackson.
“He definitely helped me through with the transition. He shared his institutional knowledge on everything about Venice,” Kerestely said. “Once I got the new position, he was very helpful. Met with me one-on-one and really just shared incite that he had as a principal.”
Since his family lives on the island, he said he was excited to be just a couple minutes away from the school and have the ability to become more involved with the Venice community.
He also hopes to be at the school for awhile and make those lasting relationships with the students.
“My ultimate dream is to be here long enough to where kids start coming back and I start being able to see their younger brothers and sisters come through the school,” Kerestely said.