Official Newsletter of the Salem Rotary Club

This week at Rotary...

Superintendent, Salem Public Schools
Dr. Stephen “Steve” Zrike is the proud superintendent of the Salem Public Schools. Steve is committed to building a culture of excellence focused on providing students with cognitively demanding and engaging lessons, creating strong systems for social and emotional support in all schools and above all, dismantling districtwide structures that perpetuate inequities. Previously, Steve served as the Receiver of Schools for five years in Holyoke, where they increased the graduation rate by more than 20%, decreased the dropout rate by more than 50%, more than doubled pre-k enrollment, and oversaw a fourfold increase in early college/dual enrollment participation for students. He has also served as the chief of elementary schools for the Chicago Public Schools, as superintendent for the Wakefield Public Schools, as a turnaround principal in the Boston Public Schools, and a teacher.
Steve started his position in Salem the week before the shutdown from COVID-19. He has focused his time so far on how to bring students and teachers back safely, with full remote, in-person and hybrid options. They have had to adjust quickly to the changing demands of the virus and the guidelines from the Department of Education. Steve noted that it is also important to address the impacts of racism that students in our community and throughout the country are experiencing. These challenges present opportunities for positive and proactive changes to better the educational experience and reduce inequities for students throughout the district. Virtual learning environments have, for example, opened opportunities outside of the classroom including greater parent engagement with virtual meetings.
Steve shared his draft for strategic priorities for the Salem Public Schools, which he shared with the School Committee but has not shared publicly until our meeting. Priority 1 is to build a robust talent development system for all staff. Priority 2 is to strengthen the pre-K to post-secondary experience. Priority 3 is to effectively meet the social/emotional and behavioral needs of all students. Priority 4 is to design and implement data-informed systems that ensure equitable use of resources and accountability for outcomes. He concluded his presentation by sharing a lengthy list of metrics for which the district will measure their successes. The next steps for this draft plan are to collect feedback from the overall community and to finalize the plan.
Steve is a former Wakefield Rotarian and is interested in reconnecting with Rotary through our Club. He sees many opportunities to connect our Club with school-aged students in Salem as well as his own interests in giving back to the community.


Dennis Kallelis of Middleton
Sold by Claire Kallelis

VisIting Rotarians & Guests

John DiPiano of the DiPiano Family Law Group joined us again this week.


Gerrit Bradley shared some fascinating Rotary history related to Rotary and Catholicism going back to 1928 in Spain when a bishop alleged that Rotary was a satanic organization. His story continued to modern times where in 1999 Pope Francis accepted honorary membership prior to becoming Pope. For in depth information about this topic check out the links below: and

Why I am A SALEM Rotarian

Suzanne O’Brien shared that she had joined Rotary through the Saugus Club in 2015 and had had a wonderful experience. She quickly found herself on the Board of Directors and also served in leadership, leaving her club as president-elect. Although Suzanne’s interest in Rotary initially was in pursuit of networking opportunities, she quickly immersed herself in Rotary and discovered it truly fulfilled her other needs and interests. Suzanne loved what Rotary was all about from the start. She loved that Rotary did so much for the local community and for the world. Suzanne felt right at home as a Rotarian because she had spent years in 4H which she believes set her foundation and love of community service and service above self.
Suzanne transitioned to the Salem Club and now has 6 years as a Rotarian under her belt. Suzanne shared how welcomed she felt when joining our Club and how impressed she was with the work at hand. Suzanne, in particular, likes the Scholarship program, work with children and families, and the backpack program as well as giving to the world through programs like clean water distribution and polio eradication. Suzanne has selected Claire Kallelis to share next week.

RotarIAN NEWS...

  • John Fisher shared that he and Gary Stirgwolt had a day of skiing at Waterville Valley and added that a 2-day work week schedule allowed more time for play.
  • Bruce Whear reported there have been no bird sightings in his back yard, but two squirrels have been discovered and they are destroying everything. John Fisher offered to loan Bruce a BB gun as a resolution, and Gerrit Bradley recommended a Nerf gun or detonator for fireworks which most likely is illegal.
  • Liz Bradt reported that she and Bart are doing much better regarding their Covid experience. Bart is home from the hospital and getting stronger.   

Club Announcements

Lifebridge Dinner Wednesday, March 10
The next dinner for Lifebridge is scheduled for Wednesday, March 10. Again, a recipe will be provide to volunteers so the meal will be consistent, and volunteers will make a portion of the dinner in their home kitchens. This month will feature Jane Stirgwolt’s famous meatloaf along with a homemade dessert baked by Jane. Please contact Kristen Armstrong or Claire Kallelis if you would like to volunteer in March or in the future.
Get Ready for FUNdraising!
Rinus Oosthoek announced that the Auction/Fundraising Committee had met and were planning a series of events that would most likely take place in April , May and June. Events may include a Hawthorne Hotel dinner, with a dinner at home option, a possible wine and whiskey tasting event, and more as part of a series of events designed to raise funds for our work and scholarship program and for fellowship. Stay tuned for details.
Calling All Spoke Note Takers
Jason Consalvo is looking for members to assist with notes for the Spoke. Adria will still compile the bulletin each week but could use some help with the notetaking during the meeting. Taking notes for the Spoke is a great way for new Rotarians to get to know our members! Please email Jason if you are able to help. Kristen Armstrong was the wonderful volunteer this week!
Salem Rotary Scholarship Applications Are Posted!
The 2021 scholarship applications are now available on our website. The Scholarship Committee is already working to promote this opportunity to seniors. Please help get the word out in any way you can and direct interested applicants to the “download files” section of our homepage on the bottom right for the applications. Applicants must be residents of Salem, Massachusetts and may not be the child, grandchild, niece, nephew, great niece or great nephew (this includes adoptive or step relationship) of any current member of Salem Rotary, or any person that has been a member of Salem Rotary within the past five years. These scholarships are available to grade 12 high school and trade school students pursuing college or a vocational trade. Applications will be accepted from February 24 through April 10, 2021.
Member Birthdays
John Fisher
March 1
William Kielbasa
March 6
Robert Anthony
March 17
Board of Directors
President Elect
Vice President
Immediate Past President
Public Image Chair
Russell Hampton
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Club Information
Tuesdays at 12:15 PM
Hawthorne Hotel
18 Washington Square
Salem, MA 01970
United States of America
We are currently meeting via Zoom due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We look forward to returning to the Hawthorne Hotel soon! In the meantime, please email for our Zoom link.
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102-2060 Winston Park Drive, Oakville, ON, L6H 5R7