Mary Ann Zappetti of East Hampton, a former school psychologist and administrator, died on March 31 at a hospital in West Palm Beach, Fla., while on vacation. She was 71.
Mrs. Zappetti was the principal of the Blue Point (L.I.) Elementary School from 1991 to 2007, when she was named assistant superintendent of pupil services. During her three years in the position, she conducted an autism program study with fellow administrators and special education staff and successfully implemented the LEAP autism program for students in and out of the district. She retired in 2010. She had been the school’s psychologist from 1985 to 1991.
“Every child should be able to attend school and be able to achieve in the least restrictive environment,” she said upon retiring. “As a school psychologist, my role is one of child advocate, but also I believe the psychologist should be a liaison for the child with both teacher and parent. All children can ‘learn to learn,’ and early stimulation coupled with sound basis in education can lead to success in all school activities.”
She was regarded as an excellent diagnostician and clinician. “She will be remembered as an educator and champion of children, touching the lives of thousands of families during her 25-year career in the Bayport-Blue Point School District,” her family said. “The world has lost a gracious and generous soul.”
Born in the Bronx on Feb. 10, 1943, to Anthony Chiodi and the former Antoinette D’Angelo, she grew up there, graduating from Cathedral High School in Manhattan. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from St. Joseph’s College in 1982, and held two master’s degrees, one in school psychology from St. John’s University and another in school district administration from Long Island University.
She married Thomas Zappetti on March 1, 1963. They lived in the Bronx until 1971, when they moved to Holbrook. In 1989 the couple bought a weekend house here on Hollow Tree Lane, and moved there year-round 10 years later.
In East Hampton, Mrs. Zappetti volunteered at LongHouse Reserve and enjoyed spending time at the Y.M.C.A. East Hampton RECenter and the East Hampton Library. She maintained a lifelong love for reading and jazz music, according to her family.
Her husband survives, as do her daughters, Dawn Zappetti and Dana Zappetti, both of New York City, and three grandchildren. She also leaves a brother, Andrew Chiodi of Montauk, and a sister, Dorothy Quigley of Boynton Beach, Fla.
Her funeral took place at Good Shepard Church in Holbrook on Saturday, followed by burial at Most Holy Trinity Cemetery in East Hampton.
Memorial donations have been suggested for the American Heart Association, 7272 Greenville Avenue, Dallas 75231.