Wallingford hires new adult education director Anthony Mangiafico  

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WALLINGFORD — With current Director of Adult Education Sashi Govi retiring at the end of the school year, the search for someone to take over is completed — Anthony Mangiafico will start as the new director on July 1. 

Mangiafico has served as the East Hartford adult education director since 2014 and has also been the director of adult education in Berlin. He was named Outstanding Administrator of the Year for 2022, an award given out by the Coalition on Adult Basic Education. 

“Anthony’s colleagues laud his ability to collaborate with staff and create an atmosphere that is truly about the students,” Danielle Bellizzi, superintendent for Wallingford Public Schools, wrote in an email to her staff. 

Mangiafico, 43, a Middletown resident and member of the Middletown Common Council, is seeking the Democratic nomination in the 13th state Senate District which covers Meriden, Middlefield and parts of Middletown and Cheshire. Mangiafico secured enough votes at a recent nominating convention to run in an August primary against party-endorsed candidate Jan Hochadel of Meriden, who serves as the state president of the American Federation of Teachers union. 

Mangiafico confirmed Friday that he still plans to primary for the nomination.

When it came to the process of finding a new director of adult education, Tammy Raccio, chair of the Wallingford Board of Education, said it was the same as any administrator role. 

Once applications are in, qualified candidates go through an interview process with the assistant superintendents, the superintendent and three board of education members. 

“If you make it past the first round, you automatically go to the second and third round,” Raccio said. 

The second round is a full day at the central office with interviews by stakeholders including teachers, secretary, the assistant superintendent, parents and other administrators. 

“Everybody who you would meet with gets split in two groups and every candidate goes to each group for separate questions and interviews,” Raccio said. 

Then, the full Board of Education, the superintendent and assistant superintendents meet with stakeholders coming back to give their feedback on the candidates. They then come up with a final round of questions for the candidates and interview them one last time. 

“At the end of that, hopefully we are able to come out of the executive session and appoint a person,” Raccio said.

Fate of adult ed building 

The adult education program’s home is in the former train station on Hall Avenue. There has been talk of renovating the historic building, which could displace the program. Vincent Cervoni, chairman of the Wallingford Town Council, said everything is still in the planning phase and that the council has not yet seen a proposal to repurpose the old train station. 

“Everything is building up to an application for grant money to help us do renovations and prepare it for its next life,” said Tim Ryan, economic development specialist. “That application has been moved out by the state Department of Economic and Community Development to October.” 

Ryan said that whether the adult education program has to move out of the building is yet to be determined. 

“Because we haven’t determined what the fate of the station will be and whether it’s financially feasible and whether we take grant money or not,” Ryan said. 

Mangiafico as new director 

For the 2021-2022 school year, the director of adult education salary ranges from $141,672 to $148,745. 

As a result of COVID, all adult education programs have lost students, so Mangiafico, 43, is hoping, as the next director, to bring these students back. Through his experience in East Hartford, Mangiafico said he has learned that offering a mixture of remote and in person classes has worked well to remove barriers for students. 

“My first priority is to get to know all the students and staff of Wallingford Adult Ed as well as my fellow administrators and then I will be going out into the community to build partnerships with Workforce Alliance and at local businesses,” Mangiafico said. 

Mangiafico said he makes these connections so students have a plan in place after they leave the adult education program. 

“In today’s world and today’s economy, a high school diploma or learning English is just not enough anymore,” Mangiafico said. “Adult learners need a pathway forward and that’s where my ability to collaborate and forge partnerships will move the program forward.”

Reporter Jessica Simms can be reached at jsimms@record-journal.com.


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