The Cottage Street School's administrative team picked up a veteran infielder this summer.
New Assistant Principal Andrew Zides played for Canton High School; the Canton American Legion Post 24 baseball team, where his teammates included Sharon High School assistant coach Kee Arguimbau, as well as Adam Blaustein, the son of Sharon School Committee member Mitch Blaustein; and at Division I Quinnipiac University with Ari Kafka, the son of state Rep. Louis Kafka (D-Stoughton).
The 30-year-old Easton resident also interned for both the Baseball Hall of Fame and for the Pawtucket Red Sox. And he worked for the then-Tampa Bay Devil Rays' scouting director's office, inputting data focusing on the June 2003 amateur player draft, during the spring and summer of 2003. The D-Rays drafted current Major Leaguers Delmon Young and John Jaso, and a pitcher named Bill Buckner, that year.
Zides left in the summer of 2003 for his first teaching position, at Brookline High School: full-time substitute teacher and interim English teacher.
"Working at Tropicana Field for me was a very exciting thing, but not rewarding for me," Zides says.
"I wanted to do something more with my life."
Zides' first Opening Day in Sharon is next Wednesday, Aug. 31.
Zides spent the past two years as an administrator at The League School of Greater Boston, overseeing about 40 students among three of the five programs at the Walpole-based private school for youths with autism and Asperger's syndrome.
There, he says, he chaired IEP meetings, and worked with out-of-district coordinators and with special education directors and with parents.
At Cottage, Zides will oversee the school's special education services in addition to his general administrative role.
The chance to work in special education in a public school helped draw him to Sharon.
"I'm really a public school kind of guy, and I really wanted to get back into public school," Zides says.
"There's really no better place around here than Sharon."
"It's really an ideal job for me, and an ideal town," Zides says.
Working in special education at League and elsewhere has grown Zides' appreciation for it.
"In every special education setting that I've been in, you're dealing with relatively small populations of students. So, you really get to know them," he says.
"I just really enjoyed the challenge of working with them, trying to make progress perhaps where others were not successful. And I find that there are a lot of great people in special education. Their hearts are really in the right place, and they have a passion for meeting the needs of these children.
Catch up with Sharon Patch's previous 2011 Back to School stories: