Words cannot express the profound impact the town of Monroe has made on the reopening of Sandy Hook School (SHS) at Chalk Hill. I would like to specifically acknowledge those working most closely with our school over the last six weeks.
From the onset, First Selectman Steve Vavrek opened the door, and most importantly his heart, to the SHS community. Through his leadership and close collaboration with Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra, the impossible became possible.
Representing his caring and compassionate township, First Selectman Vavrek set the tone by providing unwavering support and encouragement.
Monroe School Superintendent Jim Agostine and Assistant Superintendent John Battista assumed responsibility for directly connecting the Monroe and Newtown public schools by providing practical and timely support that helped to make SHS at Chalk Hill become a reality.
Calm and caring demeanor
Bruce Lazar, Monroe school administrator on loan to SHS, immediately provided his knowledge of the facility, skilled leadership, and calm and caring demeanor. He coordinated the work of dozens of Monroe counselors and teachers, who supported our staff as we settled into our new home and “new normal.”
Monroe Police Chief John Salvatore has been literally a phone call away to assist and/or provide a reassuring voice as we continually address and improve our security needs.
Monroe Police Lt. Keith White, Officer Todd Keeping (a longtime SHS parent), and Officer Mike Panza have modeled utmost professionalism and the very best of humanity as they interact with our staff, families, and most importantly, our students. Their very presence strengthened our confidence as we made important, albeit difficult, steps forward.
Our Monroe neighbors stepped up without hesitation, walking the walk from small to significant ways. They continue to do so each day, giving without regard to personal and collective sacrifice.
We salute these individuals, along with the entire community of Monroe, for being a model of responsible citizenry and for demonstrating friendship beyond measure. The townspeople and leaders of Monroe have beautifully and selflessly demonstrated that they, too, have chosen love.
With gratitude and respect,
Donna Pagé is interim principal of Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School, now located in the Chalk Hill building in Monroe.