At 3:30 p.m. today, the Staples community received a farewell letter via email from John Dodig stating his retirement at the conclusion of the 2014-2015 school year.
What began as a temporary position turned into more than a decade of leadership. Dodig opened the letter with, “All good things must come to an end at some point in time. That time now has come for me.”
It is clear that Dodig has touched the lives of many, from his students to his faculty.
Karyn Morgan, assistant principal of the Class of 2016 said she is “devastated that John Dodig is leaving knowing that [her] last year at Staples will be without him.”
“He is the quintessential principal, encompassing all the qualities necessary to be a successful educator,” Morgan said. “An instructional leader, an avid Staples sports fan, a lover of our arts program, a constant presence at our player productions and concerts and the ultimate advocate for all students.”
Tremendously fond of the memories Dodig created during their years in high school, many students said they will miss him simply waving to them in the hallways everyday. They especially won’t forget the day he was lifted into the air by cheerleaders at a pep rally or when he wore a pink wig at school to support the football team’s breast cancer awareness game last fall.
“The epitome of what a principal should be” is how Bennett Propp ’15 described Dodig. He will miss how personable Dodig has always been, greeting Propp and asking how his day or weekend was while passing him in the hallway.
Alumnus Charlie Greenwald ’12 spoke to the atmosphere Dodig fostered. “He was always so proud of how diverse, welcoming and especially safe Staples was,” Greenwald said. “He was always talking to me about how kids here can truly be who they are.”
Greenwald vividly remembers the day he introduced Dodig to the app Face Juggler, an App Store craze that exchanged the faces of two people in a photo, making it appear as though they had swapped bodies.
“He was super into it,” said Greenwald. After taking the photo, they “laughed for two good minutes at the result.”
Although Noelle Adler ’15 doesn’t know Dodig as personally as Greenwald, she said she “always felt that if I had a problem, I would be comfortable going to him, and I think that is really important.”
Morgan believes “John Dodig practices what he preaches, which has earned him the respect of the entire Westport Community.”
It goes without saying that the replacement principal of Staples will be held to high expectations after having Dodig as principal for 11 years.
“I am sure it will take an intergalactic search to find a replacement for John Dodig,” Morgan said. “I will miss him and I know that Westport had the best of the best with [him].”
Dodig concluded his farewell letter on a sentimental note. He wrote, “I hope that many years from now some Staples grad will look back and say that I helped her/him in a positive way.”