Editor's Note: Board Vice Chair Deborah Herbst made comments and was accidentally not quoted in this article, and Patch deeply regrets not including her statements. The omission was not intentional. Herbst has been a long-serving member of the school board and her service there is appreciated.
Ralph Iassogna will retire as superintendent at the end of the school year, after serving decades in the school district.
Iassogna, 66, said the district has been like a family. "I'm so appreciative and humble to be your superintendent," he said, adding that he has always enjoyed coming to work.
"I leave with many fond memories I will cherish forever," Iassogna told the school board.
The audience gave Iassogna a standing ovation for his years of service.
Iassogna spent the last 14 years as superintendent. He worked his way up from an assistant principal in 1974.
Praise for Iassogna
Board Vice Chairman Deborah Herbst, a retired educator, said she worked for many superintendents, and Iassogna was unique. "My regret is never having worked for Ralph," she said.
She praised his compassion, and said, "We may not have always agreed but we agreed to disagree."
"There are going to be some very upset folks," Herbst added.
"You’re going to be sorely missed," said board member Mike Ward, adding that Iassogna had the responsibility of two district jobs at the same time at one point in his career.
Member Lisa Labella said, "You've been the only superintendent my children have ever had." She said he helped her when her children had issues in school.
"You've been a real mentor to me. I came on the board wanting to make some changes," she added.
Former Principal Rosemary Seaman said she and Iassogna "grew up together." "You were my first principal," she said.
Board member Loretta Chory said staff and students both past and present will miss Iassogna.
Tom Kelly, who started on the board in 2009, thanked Iassogna for helping him acclimate to the board. "Every request I ever made, you treated with respect," he said.
Board Chairman Steve Wright thanked Iassogna for "choosing Trumbull as your family."
"This reminds me that nothing lasts forever," he said.
Others said Iassogna knew everyone in the district by name and never forgot where he came from.
First Selectman Tim Herbst said he sat next to Iassogna at his high school graduation in 1998. Herbst became one of the youngest first selectmen in the state.
"On behalf of every Trumbull resident, thank you for service. I wish you every success," Herbst said.
A Trumbull High School student called him "the quintessential superintendent," and joked that he disagreed only with the superintendents decisions on closing school for snow days.
Town Councilwoman Vicki Tesoro called Iassogna a "mensch."
After listening to all the praise, Iassogna said he was sad to go and had planned to announce his retirement Feb. 5. He said he will miss the job, except for getting 4:30 a.m. phone calls about the weather in the winter.
"That's the only thing I won't miss," said the superintendent.