Southington teachers balance work and higher education


SOUTHINGTON — Through a partnership with Central Connecticut State University to provide the certification for interested educators to advance their careers, eight teachers in the district are receiving their certification in education leadership administration.

Melissa D’Orazio, Kelley Elementary School special education teacher, saw previous colleagues go through the program and was impressed by the outcome.

“I jumped at the chance to do this and it’s really a great program,” D’Orazio said.

Superintendent of Schools Joseph V. Erardi Jr. said teachers in the program still teach full-time but also have to complete volunteer hours and certification classes throughout the year.

Erin Nattrass, a fifth grade teacher at Kelley School, said she and D’Orazio, Dea Laviero, at Kelley, Jonathan Cop, at Thalberg School, and Kim Kalat, at DePaolo Middle School, are completing their volunteer hours in building upon the current enrichment program for all eight elementary schools.

“It is a lot of work, and the classes are done at an accelerated pace,” Nattrass said. “We have to do a total of 500 hours throughout the year.”

The teachers have been working on school safety goals and different ways to stay up to date with policies and procedures, Nattrass said.

Laviero said did the program because of her curiosity in learning and understanding how a school district runs.

“I wanted to reach outside the classroom and understand more about the profession,” she said.

Joining the other educators are English teacher Erin Luddy and social studies teachers Candace Patten and Richard Aroian at the high school.

The teachers each have supervisors from CCSU who assess their work in the program, as well as the building principals in the schools.

Administrators, central office staff and Board of Education members have been including the eight teachers in policy and procedural work so they can better understand different roles administrators deal with on a regular basis, Laviero said.

Laviero, D’Orazio and Nattrass said they will finish the program in May and receive their certification in educational leadership.

“This really lets us take on a role and glimpse into the world of current administrators,” Natrass said. “We’re lucky to have the support from Southington administrators. They truly are making an investment in us.”

smul@record-journal.com 203-317-2275 Twitter: @ssavanimal



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