School Superintendent to Retire in June
CROMWELL - Superintendent of Schools Paula Talty will retire this coming June, wrapping up a 20-year Cromwell tenure that comprises the better half of a 37-year career that began in Massachusetts at the classroom-level.

       Talty said that she had been weighing the decision for the past year and a half, and knew which way she wanted to go by the time the Board of Education approached her about the issue of contract renewal.

       “I love this profession, and I’ve really loved serving this community,” Talty said from her office Tuesday morning. “But it’s time for me to do some other things I’ve been putting off.”

       Traveling-she hopes to take a trip to Iceland at some point-and spending more time with her 95-year old mother, tops the list, Talty said.

       “Right now I work all the time,” she said. “It’s really hard for me to spend time with her.”

       She plans to continue teaching at Central Connecticut State University, (CCSU) where she works as an adjunct professor in Education Leadership.

       “It’s been a true pleasure and honor, working with her,” said Mayor Enzo Faienza. “She really helped forge a greater collaboration between the Town and Board of Education.”

       That relationship shaped itself not only in the yearly budget process, but the placement of a second School Resource Officer (SRO)-a Board and Town split cost during Faienza’s Board of Selectman days-and the funding of soccer/football field practice lights.

       The two sides also worked together to launch the Cromwell Arts Alliance.

       The Council and Board, along with the Board of Finance, have been working on another project: potential renovation projects at Cromwell Middle School in ECS.

       “It’s still the beginning of the process,” Faienza said. “Whoever’s there, it should be a smooth transition, but we’ll miss her insight. She was fair, honest, and just a real good person to work with. Tough shoes to fill.”

       The Board of Education will be charged with the task of trying. Talty says that if it was her still in the role come September, among her top priorities would be continued development of the district’s growing STEM curriculum-expanding most recently through a new code instruction program.

       “I have a dedicated group of teachers who are passionate about them, and I’d want to help them realize that,” she said.

       But for now, there’s her last major task as superintendent: the school budget.

       “I think finances are an incredible challenge in public education [in general],” Talty said. “They have always have been, but it has not been a challenge for me [in Cromwell].”

       She attributes that continued support from the community, as well as other town officials.

       Her advice to the next superintendent?

       “Be creative and think outside the box,” Talty said, regarding cost saving and initiative funding. “And you have to absolutely love what you do.”

       Talty loves the job, but admits she did not always know that she would be doing it. She started as a bilingual instructor for second graders in Massachusetts, moving on to Andover, Connecticut, where she worked as a teacher for gifted students.

       It was there that she became an elementary education teacher, and then an interim principal.

       “I didn’t intend to become an administrator,” she said. “[Then] I realized I could really serve teachers and families by becoming one.”

       But her first love, will always be the classroom.

       “The real power in education is in the classroom,” she said. “To affect children’s lives, that’s an incredible gift.”