Principal Lazaroski completes final year at helm of Mills
New principal appointment expected June 6
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Lewis S. Mills High School is coming to the end of an era: June 2016 marks the conclusion of Principal Pamela Lazaroski’s tenure. After serving Region 10 for 16 years, six of which she spent as principal, the administrator often referred to as Mrs. Laz, is retiring. For Lazaroski, the announcement was no surprise – she had been eligible to retire for several years prior and only just decided she was ready this year. However, the revelation rocked both students and the community.
Senior Jen Merritt says, “I was a little surprised because it doesn’t seem like she’s been here that long.”
While her time at Mills may have felt brief to Merritt, Lazaroski’s overall career was incredibly long: she served as an educator at Terryville High School for 26 years. Upon arriving at Region 10 in 2001, she was named the first Dean of Students, as well as the head of the technology department.
Looking back at her career, Lazaroski fondly remembered arriving at Mills in 2001. “My daughter was a senior that year, so I was nervous. She had all her friends and a niche here, and I didn’t want to come in as the Dean of Students and ruin her fun, especially since it was her senior year. It ended up being great, though.”
In 2007 she was promoted to assistant principal, and finally, in 2010, she was named principal.
Continuing to reflect on her career, Lazaroski felt especially proud of the sense of community she helped foster at Mills, “In a town like Burlington or Harwinton, there aren’t many things for teenagers to do, so they really do get involved here. In the spring in particular, you can come to the campus and see students everywhere. You start at the tennis courts and see people playing, go to the baseball and softball fields and find practices or games, see kids running around the track and on the fields, and of course come inside the school and all the club meetings are happening.” She continued, “Kids really do gravitate towards the school, and they do a ton of activities here, so I do consider it the hub of the community. It’s a very welcoming environment, which I’m proud of.”
In addition to extracurricular activities, Lazaroski’s pride extends to students for being so dedicated to their studies.
“We’ve had educators from other districts come, and they’ll ask if it’s a teacher in-service day because they’ll walk through the halls during a class period and see no students,” she said. “Kids are where they’re supposed to be 95 percent of the time, and that’s fantastic. It’s very unique to Mills.”
Overall, Principal Lazaroski is proud of what she has done. She has no regrets other than that she wishes to see a few projects come fully to fruition.
She said, “There’s never enough time. Even though I’m retiring, I still have to be a principal right now and make sure everything is getting done. There have been a few projects I’ve been working on for years, and I finally feel like they’re able to continue without me, but I wish I could see them really come to life.”
Assistant Principal Silvia Ouellette, a close coworker and friend to Lazaroski, could not agree more with the retiring principal’s sentiments, “I have felt honored to work with her and to be able to continue her work. If one word were to define her, it would be integrity. She is the epitome of integrity and pride and passion in this school. That’s what I’ll miss most about her- she’s also very funny too. We’ll be able to carry on because we had her.”
On her time working with Lazaroski, Ouellette quotes Isaac Newton, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” In this case, Lazaroski stands as the giant that helped Ouellette and others accomplish more than they thought possible.
When asked about her future plans, Lazaroski is unsure of what she will do, “I’ll still be involved in the community and Region 10 and help out if needed. Even though I’m formally out on July 1, it doesn’t mean I won’t still be here to help transition the new principal over. Plus, I live here, so I’ll be at events and games. I have a few different things I could pursue after this, but really my schedule is free. It’s kind of overwhelming to go from always having projects and deadlines to just being able to do things on my own time.”
The soon-to-be retiree anticipates an adjustment period, but looks forward to benefits of a slower paced daily life.
“I do think I’ll finally be able to do those small household chores that I’ve always pushed off,” she laughs, adding: “ I’m not sure how many I’ll actually do, but some of them are bound to happen.”
Summarizing her career, Principal Lazaroski, soon to just be Mrs. Lazaroski, says, “It’s been a good run.”
Principal Lazaroski will officially retire on June 31, and the new principal will start on July 1. In the meantime, a Search Committee has been interviewing candidates throughout May. Officials anticipate appointing the new principal by June 6.