School district bids farewell to retirees
School district bids farewell to retirees
Posted on 07/11/2014
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WEST HAVEN, June 24, 2014 — The West Haven School District is bidding farewell to 23 faculty and staff members who retired at the end of the school year.

The group represents hundreds of years of service in city schools and includes classroom, music and gym teachers, school psychologists, a speech and language pathologist, an administrator and a nurse. Supt. of Schools Neil C. Cavallaro said he is grateful for their dedication to West Haven students over the past few decades and that the district wishes them well in retirement.

“I can’t thank our retirees enough for all that they’ve contributed to our school system and for caring for West Haven students like they were their own,” Cavallaro said. “They’ve made a difference not only in the lives of their students, but also in the lives of colleagues and students’ families.”

Some of the new retirees shared favorite memories or stories of their time in West Haven schools.

Diane Keefe, who worked as a school psychologist in West Haven for 28 years, started out in West Haven as an intern. She had previously worked for four years in an inpatient psychiatric unit for adults, but realized she wanted to help children and work in a preventative capacity.

She said she’s felt honored to work with West Haven students and families, as well as staff members.

“The greatest joy for me has been truly helping someone in need, whether it be a parent, child or someone else needing assistance.  I've worked all levels from preschool up to high school and have enjoyed every assignment I have had,” Keefe added.

“I have a special spot in my heart for the high school students, as it has been wonderful to see many of them develop into responsible, caring members of society. Retiring is bittersweet for me, as I will miss many wonderful people.”

Language Arts Coordinator Ann Valanzuolo, who oversaw English, reading, and social studies curriculums, as well as library media programs and state testing across the district, is retiring after 18 years in Central Office. She will soon depart for Washington to be closer to family and supervise curriculum and instruction for a school district near Seattle, but says she’ll miss coordinating projects with the reading department and the “sense of camaraderie” she’s enjoyed in the West Haven school district.

“I’m proud of the progress we have made as a district helping our students become better readers and writers. I’m also proud of West Haven teachers, who are willing to try new approaches to teaching to help their students succeed,” she said.

Bailey Middle School math teacher Mary Ann Evangeliste said she wants to thank teachers, administrators, parents and children she met during her career, while Alma E. Pagels Elementary School literacy teacher Mary Liberti said she’s grateful for the “wonderful memories” she made with her school community.

As for Patricia Korzon, the West Haven High School math teacher will miss the connections she made with students and staff.

“It has been a pleasure to give back to the community that educated me,” she added.