In addition to the 490 graduates that crossed the stage during commencement exercises, Southington Public Schools will also say goodbye to a number of faculty and staff members.
During the 2016-2017 school year, a total of 22 employees announced their retirement. Their length of school service spans from 5 years to 38 years.
Former Flanders Elementary School principal Pat Mazzarella, who retired in December after 36 years of service to Southington schools, is one of two administrators leaving the district. Special Education Coordinator Beth Ozkan will also be retiring at the conclusion of the school year.
Southington High School took the biggest hit when 10 certified staff members—in addition to Ozkan—announced their retirement this year, constituting half of the district’s retirees.
“They can all be proud of the careers they had at Southington High School,” Principal Brian Stranieri said. “These people have always put students first. They will all be sorely missed and we wish them many years of health and happiness in their retirement.”
Like Mazzarella, SHS German teacher Renata Ringstand already slipped into retirement back in December. High school faculty retiring in June include: Carol Aylward (physical education and health), Nancy Garry and Susan Hart (math), Petra Jenkinsen (special education), Leanne Miller (guidance), Julie Robertson (guidance director), Janice Zaccardo (English), and Judith Dunn (earth science).
While Marguerite Maddalena (physical education) is retiring after 38 years with Southington’s public schools, she told the Observer last month that she will be back next year to continue her work with the Unified Sports program.
“There’s no way I could give this up,” she said.
From DePaolo Middle School, Joanne Grant (special education), and Rosemary Burdick (math specialist) will be retiring.
Derynoski Elementary School will begin next fall without Linda Clock (TESOL) and Jennifer Kelly (special education), while Kelley Elementary will be without third grade teacher LouAnn Sieruta and South End Elementary without second grade teacher Keith Lamontagne.
The district will also say goodbye to one non-union employee, technology analyst Deb Miller, and two para-educators Barbara Borofsky (Strong) and Margaret Doyle (DePaolo). From the central office, SPS purchasing secretary Noreen Whyte will also be retiring.
While each of the retiring individuals come from different educational backgrounds and serve the schools in various capacities, they share the same level of passion for their careers.
“The one common denominator is that our staff gives their all every day,” Superintendent Timothy Connellan said. “The commitment to the students and families of this community is truly amazing.”
Each fall after the new school year begins, the Board of Education holds a celebration of excellence ceremony, bringing back retirees to honor them. Their friends and family join as the district presents each one with a token of appreciation.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Jen Cardines, email her at JCardines@SouthingtonObserver.com.