Of the many decisions he will have to make in his new role as a superintendent of schools, Isaac Zawolo does not have to worry about whether classes should be canceled on account of snow.
Because where he’s headed, there is no snow. In fact, it’s rare the thermometer ever falls below 75 degrees.
Zawolo, who has served as part of (and at times chaired) the mathematics department of the Arlington Career Center for 17 years, has been tapped by the president of Liberia as superintendent of the Monrovia Consolidated School System.
That school referred to its incoming superintendent as “an educator, an emancipator, a humanitarian, an engineer, a mathematician, an administrator and a reformist,” while Arlington school officials said they were glad he has the new opportunity but sorry to see Zawolo go.
“He is the heart and soul of the Arlington Career Center, and has made us all better by his vision and dedication to make this world a better place,” principal Margaret Chung said in a statement released by the school system. Chung said she has “no doubt that he will make a lasting impact on the schools in Liberia.”
The school system in Monrovia – Liberia’s capital – is roughly on par with Arlington’s, size-wise, as it has 24 schools and 26,000 students.
Zawolo will be the 17th superintendent of the school district since its founding in 1964. Arlington school officials said that while the superintendent’s post limits the holder’s direct authority to the capital city, the position is regarded by some as the second-highest position in Liberia’s K-12 educational system.
Zawolo was educated at several primary and secondary schools in Liberia and earned a bachelor of science degree in mathematics and physics at the University of Liberia before going on to post-graduate study and emigrating to the U.S.
In 2015, Zawolo organized the Foundation for Equity and Excellence in Education in Liberia to promote instructional improvement in the country’s education system.
According to the Monrovia school system’s Website, Zawolo and his wife, Hawa, have four children and four grandchildren.
And just to circle back on the matter of snow, one source estimates that there are 44 nations around the globe that never see it. More than half of that total is found in Africa.