By JEN CARDINES
When you consider all of his major career accomplishments with the Central Intelligence Agency, Robert Calandra (Class of 1981) was an easy choice to be inducted in next month’s Wall of Honor ceremony.
Wall of Honor founder Bob Brown said that Calandra fit perfectly into this year’s theme where all inductees share some common threads.
“One of those threads is service to our country,” said Brown. “The thing that stands out with him, to me, is his service to our country as a CIA agent.”
Calandra was raised in Southington, but he left Connecticut after high school and never came back. He was busy pursuing an extensive career in information technology and management. A retired CIA officer with 30 years of distinguished service, he resides in Virginia with his family.
“My favorite roles are husband and father,” said Calandra. “My wife, Sigrid, and our three children have, of course, had a huge influence on my life. We have worked and traveled to support our country together.”
Calandra held different leadership positions in the CIA as his career progressed. He even co-founded the CIA’s Building Revolutionary Analytics in a Volume Environment (BRAVE) initiative, which is the most comprehensive CIA vision of mission-enabling IT.
Upon his retirement from the Agency, Calandra became principal of TenX Acquisitions in 2013. Much like his previous positions, he handles novel technologies and provides growth, management, and organizational culture advice to other companies.
Calandra was a student of Brown’s at Kennedy, and he stood out as a student, an athlete, and a twin. In fact, it was Calandra’s brother that nominated him. When Brown saw the nomination, he said that he thought to himself, “Wow, that is so cool.”
“He has applied his ability and knowledge to help make us safer,” said Brown. “He was an excellent student, very smart. He’s just a nice, good guy.”
Throughout his tenure at SHS, he was captain of the soccer team and active in wrestling, the National Honor Society, Connecticut Boys State, and student council.
“I loved my years at SHS,” Calandra said. “Those were my formative years. I found that my maturity accelerated more in high school than college.”
While he moved to Virginia, Calandra will return to Southington next month for the annual Wall of Honor ceremony at his Alma Mater. He will be formally honored alongside the other nominees on Monday, Oct. 23 at 6 p.m. outside of the SHS auditorium.
Each year, nominees are selected to receive a place on the Southington High School Wall of Honor where they are recognized for one of the following categories: Lifetime achievement, community service, major career accomplishments, and humanitarian work. In its 11th year, the wall boasts notable persons that were once students at SHS.
“It was incredible,” he said about receiving the news of his induction. “With this Wall of Honor, it reminds me of how very precious the Southington education staff were in my life.”
During the celebration, he will receive an identical copy of the plaque hung on the wall. Calandra said he wanted to use the plaque to “provide actionable advice,” hoping that students will learn concepts early on that helped him flourish in his career.
To nominate honorees for future induction classes, written and verbal recommendations can be made personally to Brown.
Applications can be found online on the high school website (www.southingtonschools.org/page.cfm?p=9034), can be printed in the school office, and submitted to Brown at email@example.com or (860) 621-0416.
Sheridan Cyr contributed to this article.
To comment on this story or to contact Southington Observer editor John Goralski, email him at JGoralski@SouthingtonObserver.com.