SEYMOUR — A familiar face known for his outgoing personality, ever-present smile and willingness to lend a helping hand has been named interim athletic director at Seymour High School.
And over the past year, with the high school making negative headlines, including the arrest of a former student football player in connection with a 2015 hazing incident, and the girls’ soccer team being ruled ineligible for tournaments after forfeiting two games because ineligible players were used, the hiring of Ernie DiStasi is welcome news.
DiStasi, 39, who also serves as an assistant principal at SHS, will replace former AD Tara Yusko, who resigned earlier this year.
“Mr. DiStasi is a dedicated administrator who is willing to support the district and community with his newly assigned role,” said Superintendent of Schools Michael Wilson. “We have confidence in him as a dedicated administrator who is capable of handling these new responsibilities and look forward to working with him on this.”
Wilson is confident in DiStasi’s abilities “to work well with all stakeholders in order to continue to build our wonderful athletic programs.”
The combo position of assistant principal and AD comes with an annual salary of $151,230.
Wilson said the rationale behind making the position interim for this school year is because school officials will be meeting “to see if there is a way that this position could possibly be changed for the 2020-2021 school year and beyond.” The school board had brief discussions in the past about making a dean of students’ position with the athletic director job.
As for DiStasi, who previously served as a teacher and assistant principal at Seymour Middle School, was named Connecticut Association of Schools’ Middle School Principal of the Year in 2017, was Bungay School’s assistant principal and helped created a hugely successful student mentoring program, he’s thrilled to take on the new role.
“I have taken great pride in making connections between our schools and the greater community, and this is yet another opportunity for me to do so,” he said. “I am looking forward to working with our student athletes, as well as our coaching staff. Sports are an integral component of a high school and community, especially here in the Valley. As a lifelong Valley resident, and a graduate of Seymour High School, I have a deep appreciation for the competitive spirit of sports in this area.”
Taking on the additional role will be a balancing act for DiStasi, but he’s confident in his abilities and his support staff.
“While this will be challenging at times, I am truly fortunate that Cathy Federowicz will be working with me as the part-time athletic director,” DiStasi said.
“Last year, Cathy stepped up as the interim athletic director for the spring season, and did a phenomenal job of keeping our sports program moving in the right direction. I have learned a great deal from her since being appointed. She and I will make a great team, and I appreciate her commitment to Seymour athletics. As the assistant principal, I have the full support of (principal) Jim Freund and (assistant principal) Paul Lucke, my administrative teammates. We work well together, and they are fully aware of the demands of both jobs and they have been fully supportive during my transition.”
The Seymour native said he’ll work hard to keep Seymour’s athletic program moving forward.
“I want everyone to know that Cathy and I are going to work together with our athletes and coaches to keep our program moving in a positive direction,” he said.” We want our teams to be competitive, but above all, model good sportsmanship and represent our school and community proudly.”