BRISTOL - Superintendent Susan Moreau is officially retiring at the end of the school year.
She submitted her retirement letter to the Board of Education Wednesday night. She had previously said she intended to retire after 2018-19, when she took over from Ellen Solek as superintendent in November 2017.
Board Chairman Chris Wilson said board members haven’t decided whether they will form a search committee to replace her or elevate an internal candidate.
“It’s too early to tell, we just got the letter,” he said.
A Burlington resident, Moreau was unanimously named superintendent just over a year ago. Before that, she was deputy superintendent and had served as interim superintendent for two months in 2012, after Philip Streifer and before Solek could officially take over.
Since joining the district in 1992, she has served as principal at the old Bingham Elementary School, director of teaching and learning and then deputy superintendent. Among her other accomplishments, she led the building projects for West Bristol and Greene-Hills K-8 schools, which opened in 2012 “on time and under budget,” as Wilson has said.
In her letter, Moreau thanked the board members for “the opportunity to capstone my career as an educator, as the Superintendent of Schools,” after her 26-plus years in the Bristol school district.
She noted how she first met Wilson when he and his wife were the treasurers of the Bingham PTA. She praised all the board members for volunteering their time and efforts.
“Much time has passed, but the joy I first felt as the Bingham School principal still resounds in my thoughts,” she wrote. “My work to transform that school into an arts integrated learning experience continues as we work to create a program for our first themed school in Bristol, the Memorial Boulevard Arts Magnet School.”
“During my tenure I have had the privilege of working with hundreds of amazing teachers and administrators,” she continued, singling out former superintendent Mike Wasta, former director of the office of teaching and learning Denise Carabetta and members of her central office leadership team.
“The next chapter of my life will include much more time with my family,” she concluded.
Board member Joseph Grabowski said he was sad that Moreau was retiring.
“When I came on board to this Board of Education I was 18 years old, so obviously I had some concerns: Will people listen to me? Will I be pushed out of things? Dr. Moreau was always a go-to person, someone I could privately talk to, someone I could ask questions of, a mentor if you will. I’m very glad for the relationship we built,” he said.
Moreau said she was pleased that Grabowski is working toward becoming a social studies teacher, since that’s the subject she originally taught.
Wilson said her departure is “a little bittersweet for me as well,” since he has worked with her for many years on the school board in addition to her time as his children’s principal. “She has shown me what an education leader ought to be,” he said. “Some people talk about ‘kids first’ but I think Dr. Moreau means it and lives it.”
“I want her, and the community, to know that we’re losing a very valued educator who has really given her life to this district,” he added.
Moreau said she has worked in education for 42 years now, and she actually started locally as an intern at Bristol Eastern High School in 1992.
“It’s hard for me to even imagine that, that many years have passed,” she told the board. “I have been so privileged to work with amazing board members over time. I don’t think the public realizes the amount of time and the amount of abuse that board members take, and they do it as volunteers.”
It has been a privilege working with the teachers, administrators, students, and “all those Bingham parents I still talk to when I run into them in town,” she said. “It’s really a joy to have been here long enough to have seen those kids become productive adults in our community.”
“The long tenure of service you have had is tremendous,” said board member Jeff Caggiano. “Thank you Dr. Moreau for all you have done, I know it’s not easy on your end either.”
To read Moreau’s letter in full, visit bristolpress.com.