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The Zinkil family in 2019: Matthew, from left, Susan, Michael, Emily and Mike. Susan Zinkil is Director of Special Education for Madison City Schools. CONTRIBUTED

Zinkil accepts role of MCS Director of Special Education

MADISON – Since her outreach in middle school, Dr. Susan Zinkil knew she wanted to help exceptional children. Zinkil now is Director of Special Education with Madison City Schools.

“I am honored to be joining MCS. The reputation of the leadership and educators in this district is incredible,” Zinkil said. “I hope to continue the great work by Brenda Albritton and the Special Education Department.”

While MCS has succeeded in educating all youth, the district has excelled with exceptional students, Zinkil said. “The superintendent and school board have approved to add a self-contained special education wing at Bob Jones High School … allowing students to remain in their feeder pattern through 12th grade.”

“The wing or pod is great news for our students and their parents,” Zinkil said. “As Director of Special Education, my responsibility will include to support the smooth transition for those students and educators who will go to this new program.”

Working with special needs students means “’fair’ rarely means the same. ‘Fair’ is providing what each student needs to reach their goals,” Zinkil said. “My approach, discipline and reinforcement often vary. The students — and my own children — know, ‘That isn’t fair,’ never worked with me.”

Considering herself a “career special educator,” Zinkil earned three degrees from Florida State and Florida Atlantic universities in that field. Zinkil first worked several years as a support person. She then was assistant principal in a school for special needs students and then as assistant principals and principals in pre-K-12 schools.

Those experiences, along with working as another system’s director, have provided Zinkil with background for MCS. “My career began in Broward County, Fla. and moved to Cherokee County, Ga. I am an Alabama girl, so coming to Madison City is almost like coming home,” Zinkil said.

Although growing up on the U.S. East Coast, Germany and Italy in a military family, Zinkil considers Guntersville as home.

Susan and Mike Zinkil celebrated their thirtieth wedding anniversary in June. “Mike is from Broward County, which is why I began my career there,” Susan said. “Mike is in IT with Cherokee County Schools but will be coming this way soon.”

Their older son, 24-year-old Matthew, majored in physics at the University of North Georgia. Matthew is pursuing a master’s degree in computer science at Kennesaw State University. “I hope Huntsville/Madison job prospects will lure Matthew this way,” Susan said.

Nineteen-year-old twins Emily and Michael are 2020 graduates of Cherokee. “Emily will come this way when her dad relocates, work and go to school. Michael will stay put as he’s attending Atlanta Institute of Music,” Susan said.

An outdoors lover, Susan is an avid tennis player, hiker and jogger. “I’ve participated in Frantic Frog and Lake Guntersville triathlons several times. I’m looking forward to getting that training started again,” she said.

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