PLAINVILLE – This past spring, Superintendent of Schools Steven LePage announced that he was leaving the district, effective July 1. During his 13 years in Plainville, LePage served as principal at the high school, then assistant superintendent, and, eventually, superintendent. He has been an educator for 27 years.
“I truly thought I would be remaining in Plainville for my entire career,” LePage stated in a letter to the school community that was sent out in April. “However, I have been given an opportunity for a change that I believe will be in my best interest and the best interests of my family.”
LePage now leads Northwestern Regional School District 7, which serves about 900 students from the towns of Barkhamsted, Colebrook, New Hartford and Norfolk. LePage said he was approached about the position by the business manager of District 7. The previous superintendent, Judy Palmer, thought he would be a good fit.
During his time in Plainville, LePage enmeshed himself in the community. He served as president of the local Rotary Club, and was even named Rotarian of the Year.
While he enjoyed his many years in Plainville, especially the time spent building relationships with students, LePage indicated that political battles in town wore on him.
In his new role, LePage said he’s looking forward to focusing more of his time on doing what’s best for students, staff and families.
Back in college, LePage wasn’t considering a career in education. He graduated from Central Connecticut State University with a degree in business management, then took a job in the insurance industry. But after 10 months of work, the recent college grad had made just $10,000. He needed a new direction.
“A friend of mine at the gym asked if I wanted to apply as a tutor in East Hartford,” LePage said. “The job was $15 an hour, and I worked with students at the middle school with traumatic brain injury and did that for a year.”
In addition to the tutoring gig, LePage took a job nearby working with youngsters with serious emotional issues.
The program director was impressed with LePage, and urged him to consider a career in education. Soon, LePage was back in college, and the program director even paid a portion of his tuition.
LePage earned a master’s in Special Education and Teaching from the University of Hartford, then took a position at Newington Children’s Hospital, which had a school for high school-age students with significant behavior issues.
LePage stepped into a difficult situation. “There was no learning going on,” he said.
“When I walked into the room, the entire room was painted black, with blood-red writing and images. There were no books and no desks,” he added.
With an open house for parents coming up, LePage and his new students got to work giving the room a much-needed makeover.
LePage said he had to convince the teenagers that he was a good guy, and was there to help.
“It was a tough class, and some kids were in gangs,” LePage said. “It was a mix of kids, but they were really cool, and I bonded with them.”
From there, LePage’s career took him to East Hartford, where he worked as a special education teacher in the district from 1997 to 2002.
LePage then moved over to the Wolcott Public School system, where he stayed from 2002 to 2010. In Wolcott, he started out teaching, before becoming an administrator.
In July 2010, LePage was named principal at Plainville High School. He held that post until 2016, when he became assistant superintendent. He rose to the position of superintendent in 2019.
Until the Plainville Board of Education names a permanent replacement for LePage, Kevin Case is serving as interim superintendent. Case retired as superintendent of schools in Canton.
Plainville Town Manager Mike Paulhus said LePage will be missed. “I’m sad to see him go, and I believe the community feels the same way,” Paulhus said. “We’re losing a top-notch professional, someone who is passionate about education. It was clear in everything he did.”