HISD is mourning the loss of one of its key administrators today. Dr. Sidney “Chip” Zullinger, chief elementary school officer, died Tuesday night after suffering a heart attack Monday.
“We have lost a good friend, great person, and champion for all children,” said Superintendent Terry Grier, in making the announcement to staff.
Dr. Andrew Houlihan, HISD’s chief schools officer, said Zullinger’s death will leave a void among his colleagues. “This is a strong, interconnected team, and all Chip’s fellow chief school officers, school support officers and principals will miss his innovative ideas, collaborative spirit, and good nature.”
Zullinger earned his B.A. in 1973 from Mars Hill College in North Carolina, his M.A. in educational administration from Western Carolina University in 1979; and received a doctorate in educational administration from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro in 1991.
He joined HISD in 2010 after serving as superintendent for school systems in North Carolina, South Carolina, Wyoming, Virginia, and Colorado, and executive director of an educators’ union in South Carolina.
In his position with HISD, he was the face of the district at 147 elementary schools serving more than 100,000 youngsters –interacting with educators, students, and members of the community in a personal way.
Colleague Audrey Gomez described him as “a universally loved individual…a respected educator who applied out of the box thinking.”
Funeral arrangements are pending, and Grier said the district would hold a memorial service.