MERIDEN — During its meeting last week, the Board of Education was introduced to the district’s new supervisor of special education, Laurie Labato-DiTomasso.
DiTomasso is a veteran educator in the district, having begun her career as a special education teacher in 2004. She worked at various schools during her tenure — Nathan Hale, Benjamin Franklin and Hanover elementary schools. For her dedication to education, the district recognized her as Teacher of the Year in 2015. She also served previously as a district-wide reading specialist.
After leaving the district in November for another supervisory position for the Colchester school district, she has since returned to Meriden to oversee the operations of the special education department for the entire school system.
“I’m excited to be back in Meriden,” Labato-DiTomasso said as she introduced herself before the board. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to return to this community and to work with such dedicated and talented educators.”
This addition to the department comes as the district is seeking to increase its staffing and support its special education initiatives. Having brought on 45 new hires for this semester, alongside many paraeducators, the district wishes to bolster the special education department to improve the quality of the care they provide for students.
The motivation for this is the lowered expense to the district. On average, it costs more to outplace students to receive the care they need in neighboring districts if the schools aren’t able to provide the care they need. This serves as an incentive for Meriden to continue to make investments in paraeducators and retain qualified staff that are able to assist with those with specialized needs.
Labato-DiTomasso will be joining four other special education supervisors overseeing the pupil personnel programs. With her expertise in the field for 28 years, she expressed enthusiasm for being able to continue to grow the department.
“I have a deep passion for helping students with disabilities reach their full potential. I’m committed to providing students with the supports they need to succeed and grow into their full potential,” she said.
“I believe strongly in creating access points for all learners to rich educational experiences through the development of strong programming. I know we’re facing challenges in Meriden, but through challenges, we often find opportunities to grow and learn as a community. I look forward to working with you to create a district where all students can thrive.”
The announcement of Labato-DiTomasso’s appointment was received with warm applause from the board, who welcomed her back to the district and saw her more than qualified to assume the position.
“It’s great to have you back working with our team,” said Superintendant Mark Benigni.
Added Board President Robert Kosienski Jr., “We’re thrilled to have you back. It’s incredible to have such great people in our district and keeping on the tradition. It’s wonderful to have you.”