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Community Honors Fiftal

Parents, town officials, and friends honored outgoing Superintendent of Schools Don Fiftal with a reception Wednesday afternoon, celebrating his years of service to Darien. Those at the gathering offered recollections of their fondest memories of Fiftal’s time with the district.

Carolyn Langelier of the Council of Darien School Parents appreciated Don’s commitment to his job. “No matter how difficult or thorny the issue is, he always gets right to the heart of it in a very measured, valued way,” she said. “He always put the children first.”

Another parent, Ann Reed, fondly remembered Fiftal’s personal stake in the children’s achievements. “Before they start Board of Ed meetings, he always had a superintendent’s report where he highlighted something that the children did, something that he was very proud of,” she said. “He was like a proud parent.”

Board of Finance Member Liz Mao said he was great to work with, even during tight economic times. “He was always prepared, he always had a good answer,” she said. “He never showed frustration, and was a great partner.”

At the official ceremony, Fiftal was again showered with kind words and a few, thoughtful gifts. Because Fiftal is moving to Georgia, the parents’ group gave him a “southern boy starter kit,” complete with a “Southern to English” dictionary and plenty of southern specialties, including peach pie, peanuts and the ingredients for making grits. The Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents also presented Fiftal with a commendation for his years of service to the state’s public school system, including his years teaching in Litchfield and as a principal in Newtown before joining Darien’s district in 2002.

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