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National Zoo Appoints Joseph M. Sacco Associate Director for Education

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo has appointed Joseph M. Sacco associate director for education, effective Jan. 5, 2009. In his new role, Sacco will oversee all public education programs at the Zoo, including public demonstrations, curriculum enrichment for K-12 students, teacher workshops, community outreach and distance learning initiatives held throughout the year at both the Zoo and its Conservation and Research Center in Front Royal, Va. Sacco will be employed by the Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ), the non-profit partner of the Zoo.

Sacco comes to the Zoo with a wealth of education experience; he has taught science, written curricula, counseled students and led graduate courses in team building and group dynamics. Sacco, a top principal in Maryland’s Montgomery County Public School system, most recently served as principal of Lakelands Park Middle School in Gaithersburg, Md. He played a key role in the planning and opening of the school in 2005.

Sacco has long excelled at guiding young scientists and conservationists. He started the Community Ecology and Technology Academy at John Poole Middle School in 1997, which led to the school’s recognition as a Maryland “Green School.”

“With 32 years of experience, Joe will bring a new vitality and perspective to our educational activities,” said FONZ Executive Director Robert J. Lamb. “We envision that the educational efforts at the Zoo will undergo significant growth under his leadership.”

Sacco, a native of New York, holds a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Cornell University and a master’s degree in education and human development from George Washington University.