MILFORD – Lauralton Hall president Antoinette (Toni) Iadarola will retire at the end of the 2016-17 academic year, the college-prep school's Board of Trustees has announced.
Appointed in 2009, she has overseen expansion of both the school's academic offerings and facilities.
“Once hired, she immediately began working with the school community to develop strategic and master plans to further its goal of empowering young women for life," said board chair Trudy Dickneider. She said Dr. Iadarola was "uniquely qualified to move it to the next stage in becoming a premiere Catholic prep school for girls in the nation."
Dr. Dickneider listed the following among Dr. Iadarola's accomplishments.
– Completion of a new $2 million athletic field;
– Construction of the Cyber Café, a center for guidance and college planning;
– Conversion of the Carriage Barn, an officially recognized historic site, into the Center for Visual and Performing Arts;
– Renovations of classrooms to accommodate digital technology;
– Revision of class scheduling to better prepare students for the demands and freedoms of college;
– Institution of a program for faculty development opportunities and recruitment of new professionals for the faculty and president’s leadership team;
– Unprecedented fund-raising success with the school’s first comprehensive “Because We Believe” Capital Campaign, which has a $6 million goal;
– Oversight of the effort to have the campus named to the National Register of Historical Places;
– Attainment of record levels of enrollment and diversity.
“Toni has been the catalyst for incredible enhancements to the Lauralton Hall experience,” said Dr. Dickneider. “She is a prime example of ‘good things come in small packages.’ She may be small in stature, but leaves an enormous legacy.”
Dr. Dickneider also described a popular new tradition started by Dr. Iadarola that is loved by the students and parents.
“New freshmen are initiated into Lauralton Hall at the school’s matriculation ceremony, wearing the school uniform, signing a pledge to honor the core values and formally meeting the president,” she said. “I cannot imagine the school without this annual event.”
The students dedicated this year’s yearbook to Dr. Iadarola, describing the head of the school as "an amazing role model" who taught them to persevere despite life's obstacles.
A native of New York City, Dr. Iadarola was raised in Shelton and graduated from Shelton High School. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in history/political science from the University of St. Joseph in West Hartford, where she began her career as a history professor in 1973. She completed graduate work at Georgetown, Yale and Oxford Universities, and was president of Cabrini College.
“It has been a privilege and blessing to work with the many dedicated board members, teachers, staff, parents and especially the outstanding students at Lauralton,” said Dr. Iadarola. “Lauralton Hall has been a gift to me and I am truly grateful. I like to think that in some small way, I have transformed Lauralton into becoming its best self, but truly in the process, deep down inside, I know that the school has transformed me, as well.”
The board will conduct a search to find a successor.