Person of the Week: Timothy Walsh

With over 30 years experience in the Shelton school system, including over 10 on the city’s Board of Education, former Chairman Timothy Walsh decided not to run for reelection this year.

Walsh’s experience with battling health issues was the primary reason for him choosing not  to run for reelection, he explained.

With a lot more time on his hands now, he said the transition hasn’t been an easy one, but according to his doctor and wife Gale, it was necessary.

“I really love and care about the kids so of course it’s been hard to not be as involved with doing the things I normally would be doing,” said Walsh.

Grand-nephew, Brian Maffucci helps out with a lot of the daily tasks around the house, according to Walsh’s wife.

He has received numerous accolades over the course of his career such as Democrat of the Year, a special recognition award from Sen. Blumenthal, Rosa DeLauro, and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman to name a few.

Walsh’s dedication to the students’ of Shelton earned respect from a number of his peers.

Mayor Lauretti said he recalls Walsh being a teacher at Shelton High School when he was a student and although he had the reputation for being strict, he was one of the teachers that students don’t forget and you had to respect.

“We’ve had a different type of relationship over the years. He used to invite all the time to speak at different events while he was principal at the Intermediate School and gave me accolades. Then when he retired and got on the Board of Ed he became a big critic of mine and then a big supporter,” said Lauretti. “It’s been a rollercoaster ride to say the least but you have to respect his commitment to the Shelton school system and he should be recognized for years of hard work.”

Lauretti added that although he has had his share of disagreements with Walsh over the years he won’t argue the success or positive influence he has had on the Shelton education system.

During the final Board of Education meeting before elections, members of the board shared sentiments and stories about their experience working with Walsh.

Outgoing Superintendent, Freeman Burr said Walsh was a mentor to him early on in his career and he actually took on the role of a “father figure.”

“Tim took me under his wing,” said Burr. “We would sit down once a week to have coffee and catch up. Not only did he mentor me in understanding the educational culture in Shelton, as a Board member while he was Chairman, but a lot of our discussions, I felt, that it was more like a dad talking to their son and giving them advice, guidance, and counsel.”

Burr said he’s always appreciated Walsh’s stick to his guns attitude that made him challenge his way of thinking.

“It was kind of like him figuratively putting his arm around me, these are memories that will stay with me,” said Burr.

Chairman of the Board of Education, Mark Holden said Walsh has been an influential player on the forefront of Shelton’s school district.

“Tim is a die-hard Democrat and even though we didn’t always see eye-to-eye, he has always been a great person to work with. In part, because he is able to look past political parties and make objective decisions with the best interest of the students in mind and partly because he just genuinely gives a damn,” said Holden.

“His heart was with the kids,” said Burr. “Some people statewide use a spot on the Board of Education as a stepping stone, but in Tim’s case he used it as an extension of the work he had already put in in his years as a teacher and principal.”

Reflecting back on his career, Walsh said he is most proud of how far the education system has come since he started. He said he looks forward to seeing where it will go in the future.

“I have no doubts that Shelton’s school system will only get better,” said Walsh. “Shelton’s education system is to never be underestimated. As long as we continue to adapt with the times and keep the kid’s first our forward progression will continue and I’m sure of that.”