Kristy Zgol, Superintendent, SAIL: School for Arts-Infused Learning



Superintendent, SAIL: School for Arts-Infused Learning

Number of years in position: 1

Family: My husband, Greg Zgol, and I just celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. We have two boys, Grayson and Ryan. Grayson will be a freshman at Greenbrier High School, and Ryan will be in the 5th grade at SAIL.

Why I’m Passionate About What I Do: School choice is becoming more and more important as we move into a time when our society is conditioned to shop around for the best product for their needs. The time where a traditional school is the only option for families is coming to an end in many states. School choice has been slow to reach our area, but with the increased number of families coming to Greater Augusta from states where school choice is the norm, the demand has increased. I love taking families on a tour of our school and sharing the productions and performances of our scholars. SAIL is not a school that appeals to all children. If a child does not have an interest in the arts, then SAIL is probably not the best choice. That is what is so wonderful about school choice.

Community Groups and Charities I Love to Support: My youngest son, Ryan, became very sick five days after birth, and was admitted to the Children’s Hospital for almost a month. During that time, The Ronald McDonald House made daily visits to us in the hospital and offered us a place to stay while Ryan was being treated. It is important to me to continue to support The Ronald McDonald House so other families will have the same care that was offered to us.

Biggest Career or Life Obstacle I’ve Overcome and How: In 2014, after nearly four years of pulmonary illnesses, I was told that there was a carcinoid tumor blocking my right lung from blood and air flow. At that time I took medical leave from work to improve the quality of my lungs so the tumor could be removed. For 10 days my boys were unable to visit me in the hospital. After the surgery I made a promise to myself that I would never take my health or family for granted.

Accomplishment I’m Most Proud Of: Opening SAIL’s doors to over 400 students in August of 2017 was a proud moment for me. Getting to that moment was the single most challenging experience of my life. Whenever I found myself feeling overwhelmed, I would repeat these words that my oldest son told me: “You’ve got this, Mom!” 

What Your Childhood Self Wanted to Be When You Grew Up: As a child I envisioned myself having a career in marine biology. I dreamed of spending my days swimming among the dolphins and rehabilitating beached whales.

Favorite Way to Spend Saturday Afternoon: Sitting on my back porch swing with friends, listening to music and watching the children play in the yard would be the most perfect Saturday afternoon. 

Favorite TV Show: My absolute favorite show at this time is “Pool Kings.” My husband says that it was a mistake telling me about this show, but I am hooked.

Favorite Movie: I can watch Remember the Titans over and over and never tire of the plot, characters or theme. I am pretty sure I can recite the whole movie line by line.

Favorite Sports Team: I married a Clemson graduate, so weekend trips to Death Valley are what we enjoy the most in the fall.

Favorite Comfort Food: My grandfather always referred to me as his Georgia Peach. I am pretty sure it was because my favorite dessert growing up was peach cobbler. Today, that is my “go-to” comfort food.

Favorite App: I have just recently downloaded Happify on my smart devices. This app prompts me to focus my energy and thoughts on things that make me happy.

Last Book Read: The most recent book I have read is Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt. This book is about an academically struggling child who is trying to fit in with her peers. Reading children’s novels helps me stay in touch with the popular topics of my children and scholars. 

Dream Vacation: I have always wanted to explore the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia. Snorkeling among the vibrant sea life and experiencing the world’s largest organic structure would be incredible.

Something That Has Changed My Life: Becoming a wife and mom have changed my life in remarkable ways. My husband’s encouragement and support have given me the confidence to take risks and lean into my fears. My children give me reason to always do my best and show grace toward others.

Best Thing I Ever Learned: On the wall just above the chalkboard in my fifth-grade teacher’s classroom read the words, “An easy task is made difficult when done with reluctance.” Life’s mundane tasks can be the hardest to tackle. 

One Word You Would Use to Describe Yourself: I would best describe myself as determined. I fully believe if there’s a will, there’s a way. 

Favorite Hobbies: Gardening is probably my favorite thing to do in my leisure time. My mother gave me the gift of a green thumb, and I love getting my hands in the dirt.

Secret Aspiration: I have always wanted to take Salsa and ballroom dance lessons.

Reality Show I Would Totally Win: Of all the reality shows, I would want to win “Dancing with the Stars,” but I am afraid it would classify more as a comedy.

Something People Would Be Surprised to Know About Me: I am a roller coaster enthusiast. My youngest son, Ryan, and I love the loops, hills, dips and turns of the wildest rides. I would love to be able to take a tour of the world’s fastest and most thrilling roller coasters.