Turner says goodbye after 45 years working for DPS


Katie Walsh

Level 3 Secretary Sandy Turner retired on Dec. 23, after working for Danbury Public Schools for 45 years. DHS graduate Kathleen Santos is the new Level 3 secretary.

Katie Walsh, Staff Writer

Sandy Turner, the Level 3 secretary, ended her 45-year career in the Danbury public school system on Dec. 23 and is now enjoying the life of a retiree. 

Turner started her career in 1971 working at Mill Ridge. She went on to work at Park Avenue and South Street before coming to DHS. She says she “enjoyed elementary, but high school was more satisfying [because of the ability] to communicate at [the high school] level.”

For 20 years Turner held down the Level 3 office, working with assistant principals Gary Bocaccio (who retired last year as principal) and Domitila Pereira.

She was accustomed to multitasking as well as “being able to switch gears immediately” and “getting along with students, teachers and parents.”

Turner says there was not anything specific she did not like, however,  “the constant extra workload was the most challenging.”

During her time at DHS, Turner was able to create a special relationship with the students. “I loved the students the most,” she says. “[All of their] personalities, stories, problems and successes.”  

Patricia Jackson, who works in the Attendance Office and is a good friend of Turner’s, credits the “kids for keeping her going. The kids mean everything to her. She never liked being out for a length of time because she always missed the kids.”

Turner was a huge supporter of the students, not only in the office but  in their activities, too. She worked at many sporting events or attended them as a fan.

As far as her retirement plans go, she’s still unsure. She said she look forward to getting together with friends, shopping and puttering around the house. She also has 27-month-old twin grandsons that she is on call for.

Just recently, her grandchildren, children, husband and dozens of friends — teachers, administrators, counselors, custodial staff, secretaries and other staff — gathered at the Amerigo Vespucci Lodge to celebrate Turner and her retirement.

Throughout the years, Turner lived by the following sayings to help keep perspective in the challenging halls of DHS:  “We are all the same,”  “Everyone behaves the way they do for a reason,” and “We don’t know what they go home to.”

DHS graduate Kathleen Santos was hired to fill the secretarial post. Turner offered this advice to her:

“Discipline is none of [a secretary’s] business.  Be kind to everyone who comes in.  Be ready for anything.”