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Kiner's Korner: Fond Memories of Dr. Louis Mager

Bill Kiner recalls his long association with the former Enfield superintendent of schools, who passed away Sunday.

Lou Mager was a very special man. I first met Dr. Mager in the late 1960's. I had taught one year at St. Ann's School in Bridgeport and was now hoping to teach in Enfield. Dr. Mager hired me, and so began a 35-year career for me in the town of Enfield.

At the time that I started teaching in Enfield, the town had become the seventh largest school district in the state. With Enfield's school system expanding at such a rapid pace, comes the responsibility of educating thousands of kids whose futures would be determined  by the education that they received. This was an awesome responsibility and Lou Mager was just the man to meet this responsibility head on. He succeeded.

Lou Mager understood the politics of Enfield probably better than most politicians. He knew that his extended family (I believe that he looked upon the kids in the school system as he would his own children) needed good teachers, text books, etc. He knew that all this would cost money. He also knew that it was the town's obligation to give our children the best education possible.

Lou Mager fought for his kids. Year after year you would hear people complain about taxes and how it was Dr. Mager's fault that taxes were so high. He would patiently explain that it was our responsibility to educate our kids. Lou understood that his job was dependent upon the good will of the people of Enfield and in particular to at least five votes on the Board of Education.

Asking for more money which brought with it an increase in taxes did not make Lou Mager popular with all of Enfield's citizens. But this did not deter Lou Mager. He used all of his skills to get the dollars that his kids needed to obtain the best education possible. Dr. Mager had such a wonderful way with people. He would disarm his severest critics with a little bit of wit, a big smile, and a hearty laugh. He was always able to get what he wanted and what his kids needed.

Thousands of children who graduated from our school system went on to colleges and got jobs, thanks to the education that the town of Enfield gave them. Had it not been for Lou Mager, this might not have happened.

As a teacher in the Enfield School System, Dr. Mager was my boss and I must admit that I did make life difficult for him at times. I was also a state Representative who worked in Hartford during my time as a teacher. My position, as a political one, made me fair game for anyone who wanted to cause me trouble. When Dr. Mager heard from disgruntled citizens he always took the time to listen to them and then come to me with the particular problem. He would come over to Fermi High where I taught and would simply say, "All right Bill, let's hear your side of the story".

I haven't spoken with Lou in a few years. I regret that. Lou lived a few doors down from where I lived on Grant Road. We would often run into each other and talk about the "good old days". But after we both retired and we both moved, our paths didn't cross much any more.

Lou Mager, you can be proud of what you accomplished. You gave our kids the best that you had to offer. Thank you.

Jerry Fitzsimons February 07, 2013 at 02:09 PM
Nice job Bill. Lou was definitely a man for his times. We are all better for his service to Enfield's kids. By extension, his impact truly is immeasurable and as broad as the travels of all our children.

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