Kennedy cancels Friday classes to mourn teacher

Joseph George Cipollini

Joseph George Cipollini

Southington Superintendent of Schools Timothy Connellan announced that Friday classes have been suspended so that faculty, staff, and students can attend and participate in funeral services for Joseph George Cipollini.

The Kennedy teacher died on Tuesday at the age of 62. Cipollini spent his entire career in Southington Public Schools as a teacher of sciences and gifted education.

He was born in New Haven on March 13, 1954, the son of Joan Panico Cipollini and the late Rudy Cipollini. He grew up in North Haven and graduated from North Haven High School in 1972. He received his bachelors and master’s degrees from Southern Connecticut State University in 1977 and earned a sixth year in gifted education from the University of Connecticut.

Calling hours will be held during the day at the North Haven Funeral Home with funeral services to follow. After meeting with administrators from all the secondary schools, Connellan made the decision to close Kennedy.

“It has become apparent that we will not be able to cover with substitutes and volunteers for all of the JFK staff members who want to attend and participate in the services,” Connellan said in a press release to parents. “Everyone has been very generous with their time and their offers to cover classes, but it is clear to our Leadership Team that it will be impossible to cover classes and activities and provide anything meaningful for the 800-plus students with the number of staff members who will be out of the building for a large portion of the day.

Connellan said that the closure will not extend the school year. Since Southington’s school calendar is 181 days, Kennedy students will still meet the state mandated requirement for 180 school days. The last day of school is still projected to be June 10, along with the other schools in town.

“We believe this is the best and most reasonable way to handle this situation given the timing and organization of the services and the large number of staff who have indicated that they will be attending,” Connellan said in the release. “This is also the safest option for students. I do not believe that having a staff of what would likely be 80 percent substitutes and volunteers who do not know the students would produce a safe or meaningful environment for the students.”

Cipollini is survived by his mother, Joan Cipollini of East Haven; his daughter, Sarah Jo Cipollini of Southington; stepchildren Holland Gistelli of Napa, Calif. and Scott Gistelli of Southington; sisters, Diane Cipollini-Cotter of Hilo, Hawaii, Donna Bousquet of Irasburg, Vt., Debbie Morcaldi of North Haven; and brothers, Jeff Cipollini of North Haven. He is also survived by many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Calling hours will be held at the North Haven Funeral Home, 36 Washington Ave. in North Haven on Friday, April 22, from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. with funeral services to follow.

Memorial donations may be made to his daughter Sarah’s college education fund: 223 Meriden Waterbury Turnpike, Southington, CT 06489, and/or the ( in his name.

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