Vernon School Superintendent Joe Macary said he was “humbled” when he hear the news that he was named the state’s Superintendent of the Year by the Connecticut Association of Schools Superintendents.
“There’s no greater honor than to be recognized by your peers,” he said. “It really is an honor and a privilege.”
Macary was eager to spread the credit for the award to the Vernon Schools’ staff, administrators, teachers, students, and the community of Vernon at-large, all of whom he said have collected accomplishments and accolades during his nine years in Vernon.
“It’s everybody here in Vernon,” he said. “The accountability resolve, two Schools of Distinction awards, a Blue Ribbon School, Leadership Awards – it just keeps adding and adding. I share this award with the Town of Vernon. It starts with the students, the teachers the staff, administration and the whole community of Vernon.”
Macary was previously the superintendent in Wolcott, and began his career as a social studies teacher in the Waterbury school district. There, he was also social studies department chair, and athletic director at Crosby High School. In Wolcott, he was assistant superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction and director of Student Services and Alternate Programs. In July 2009, he assumed the role of that town’s Superintendent of Schools.
“Schools are a reflection of society, and I’ve been in many districts, but I’ve never seen a more caring district than Vernon,” he said. “They really care about students and families, and teachers and schools. I think that personifies everything that we care about here in Vernon.”
The Connecticut Association of Public Schools Superintendents criteria for the Superintendent of the Year award includes leadership for learning, communication, professionalism, and community involvement.
Macary has been superintendent in Vernon since October of 2015. He said that there were many challenges along the way, but he also came to rely on the people of Vernon. That was certainly true during the pandemic.
“COVID was a gut punch to school systems,” he said. “We were making tremendous progress, and then COVID came and hit us in the gut. We’re recovering, but I still think the COVID effects are still there. Because Vernon is such a caring community, we were able to rebound from COVID faster than other districts because we did the right things. But, it’s still out there, and I think it’s going to be there for a while.”
Macary holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut, majoring in Political Science with a concentration in Economics. He earned a master’s degree in teaching from Quinnipiac College and received his sixth-year degree in Educational Leadership from Southern Connecticut State University. In August 2016, Macary was awarded his doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Connecticut, solidifying his commitment to academic excellence.
He has also received numerous accolades throughout his distinguished career. He was included in the “Who’s Who among America’s High School Teachers” three times. In 2014, he was recognized as the “Educator of the Year” by the Greater Waterbury Boys & Girls Club. In 2016, Macary was selected as the Distinguished Alumni for the Executive Leadership Program (ELP) at UConn. More recently, in 2022, Macary received the Albert J. Kerkin Award for exemplary services to adult education. In 2023, he was honored with the Outstanding School Superintendent award by the UConn Neag Alumni Board.