Tricia Lasto of Orange has been appointed the next principal at Mary L. Tracy School, a position she calls her ‘dream job.’ The Orange Board of Education announced and celebrated her new role at its May monthly meeting.
“Tonight is an important piece, not only for the community, but for herself. This is an accomplishment for Tricia and her family,” said Superintendent of Schools Vince Scarpetti. He warned, “This is fleeting—this moment is going to flash by and she is going to be in the day-in and day-out routine of the job. I did not want to miss this opportunity to celebrate with Tricia.”
Scarpetti thanked the selection committee, which included parents, a principal and administrators, for going through the arduous task of interviewing all of the candidates and narrowing it down to Lasto, who has taught in Orange Schools for all of her 18 years of teaching. She received her bachelor’s, master’s and sixth year degrees from Southern Connecticut State University before receiving her Leadership Certification, which allows her to be an administrator.
She has had various leadership roles, starting as president with the Amity Regional Aquatic Club, the pre-k committee, vice president and co-chair of the policies committee for OTL, the Orange Teachers’ League. She held her administrative internship at Mary L. Tracy School, she is part of the professional development and evaluation committee, is an adjunct professor at Quinnipiac University, part of the district research and development team, ELA curriculum design team, and currently, she’s the 21st Century Program Lead.
“One of the themes, no matter what group we talked to, was about that kindergarten experience. No matter if we talked to teachers of parents, they said they really wanted someone who worked at the kindergarten level and Tricia worked nine years at that level,” said Scarpetti.
The committee was also looking for consistency. “I think that one thing that has been proven with research is the strength of longevity of leadership. The committee wanted someone who was going to stay and Tricia has proven that with her longevity to the town of Orange,” he said.
Lasto thanked the Board of Education and administrators. “I thank you all for the opportunity that you are giving me to represent Orange. Mary L. Tracy is known as the gateway to the Orange elementary school system and for me to be the first impression along with my staff, it is so important,” she said. “We get to see children from all over the town and that to me is such an awesome responsibility. It’s so energizing that I get a chance to see all of the children from this town walk through the doors of Mary L. Tracy School.”
Not only does Lasto have a long career as a teacher in Orange, she was a student at the elementary schools. “To be a product of this wonderful and always cutting-edge system, it’s such an honor for me to take what I’ve learned from my teachers in Orange, from my principals, from my colleagues, it really is fulfilling to be able to give back, now in a role where I can help students and teachers as they helped me along my path.”
When she thought about what she was going to say at the podium after the announcement, she said she knew she wanted to thank her family and teachers and students, but she wanted to say more. “Ironically what I found was a quote by Ms. Mary L. Tracy. What she felt all these years ago, I’m still feeling today,” she said.
In 1979, Ms. Tracy wrote in a yearbook, ‘The children were my greatest delight and teaching my special joy—a work of love. A special spirit permeated the building, an ideal atmosphere for learning. Of greatest importance were the enthusiastic, loyal and capable teachers, and other school workers. Enrichments to curriculum were added by the PTA, other townspeople who offered their help, our superintendent, Board of Education, town officials and interest from the whole town made working at Mary L. Tracy a dream job.’
“Tonight, I feel that my dream is realized, that I get to work in my home town, and for the betterment of all children in the town. I am grateful for the opportunity and I will not let you down,” she said.
By Melissa Nicefaro – Orange Town News Correspondent