Dr. Antoinette (Toni) Iadarola, president and head of Lauralton Hall, is retiring.
Iadarola, appointed in 2009, has been described as a pint-sized powerhouse by all who know her. She will serve in the position until the end of the next academic year, June 2017.
“When Toni first arrived at Lauralton, she had just returned to Connecticut to retire, but quickly realized that she couldn’t sit still, so in essence, she flunked retirement,” said Dr. Trudy Dickneider, chair of the Board of Trustees. “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 and was uniquely qualified to move it to the next stage in becoming a premiere Catholic prep school for girls in the nation.”
Iadarola is a recognized and published scholar, having completed graduate work at Georgetown, Yale and Oxford universities. Her academic career began as a professor, and then department chair, provost and finally president of Cabrini College. She mastered academic theory and practice, became an examiner for regional accrediting agencies, and an Association of Governing Boards governance training facilitator.
“Toni has been the catalyst for incredible enhancements to the Lauralton Hall experience,” said Dickneider. “She is a prime example of ‘good things come in small packages.’ She may be small in stature, but leaves an enormous legacy.”
Some of the achievements fulfilled during Iadarola’s tenure include:
- 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 the way students learn and teachers teach in today’s digital world.
- Spearheaded efforts for revised class scheduling to better prepare students for the demands and freedoms of college.
- Record levels of enrollment and diversity.
- Instituted a program for faculty development opportunities and continually recruited new and talented professionals for the faculty and president’s leadership team.
- Unprecedented fundraising success with the school’s first comprehensive “Because We Believe” Capital Campaign, which is targeted to achieve its $6M goal.
- Named the entire campus to the National Register of Historical Places.
Dickneider said Iadarola’s accomplishments are even more impressive given the fact that she continued to work while battling cancer. “Toni’s fortitude when she was physically down was truly awe-inspiring,” she said. “She is a rare combination of compassion and strength that encourages everyone who knows her, and we are all very thankful that she is healthy now.”
The students dedicated this year’s yearbook to Iadarola as an amazing role model who taught them to persevere regardless of any obstacles that they may encounter throughout their lives.
“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 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.”
A native of New York City, Iadarola was raised in Shelton, and graduated from Shelton High School. A product of a Mercy education herself, Iadarola graduated with a B.A. in history/political science from the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford, where she began her career as a history professor in 1973.
The board will conduct a search to find her replacement.