‘I love this town’: Colleagues, parents honor Trumbull educator for six decades of service

Michael C. Ward

Michael C. Ward

Hearst Connecticut Media file photo

TRUMBULL — Michael C. Ward has been on the Board of Education for a long time — long enough that it feels like he’s always been there, at least to some.

“We have one person, Mr. Michael Ward, who has been on the board for, I think, 115 years,” said Superintendent of Schools Martin Semmel during Tuesday night’s meeting of the Board of Education. “Is that about right?”

Ward of course hasn’t been there that long, but he has served 18 years on the board, and had a 40-year education career before that.

Ward, a Democrat, didn’t run for re-election in the last town election, and Tuesday was his last meeting as a Board of Education member.

“Mike is someone who has been on the board and part of education in Trumbull for so very long,” Semmel said Tuesday night during a tribute to Ward.

Semmel went on to describe some of the high points of Ward’s career in education, which began in the early 1960s and included jobs at several Trumbull schools. He ended his career in education in 2001 at Booth Hill School, where he was principal. Two years later, he was elected to the Board of Education.

Ward’s post-retirement also included serving as president of the Greater Bridgeport Retired Teachers, on the board of directors of the Associated Retired Teachers of Connecticut and other positions. He is also a veteran of the United State Marine Corps, a father of three and a grandfather of 10.

Semmel said Ward has long been a revered and respected figure by parents, teachers and administrators alike.

“You’re obviously extremely dedicated but also very popular,” Semmel said. “I hope the folks here and at home will take a moment to just appreciate and celebrate Mr. Ward.”

Semmel then rose to give Ward an appreciation plaque, which was met with applause from those attending the meeting

Those who honored Ward also included board secretary Jackie Norcel, who said Ward was the one who encouraged her to take a job in Trumbull.

“I have to thank him for calling every day one week at my other position, in Coventry,” Norcel said. “(Finally) I said ‘OK, I’ll apply for the job. They’re going to think I have a boyfriend! Stop calling.’ ”

Trumbull parent and teacher Michaela Durand spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting, to express her appreciation of Ward. Her voice broke slightly as she talked about Ward’s support over the years, and how he was a “strong and caring presences” at numerous school events.

“(During his 18 years on the board) he has truly taken the time to listen to input from all the Trumbull teachers and parents,” she said.

Ward spoke briefly, expressing his thanks for all the kind words.

“I enjoyed every moment as an educator here in Trumbull,” he said. “I love this town. It’s my town.”