'Truly a dynamo': Milford family resource center director leaving after 25 years

Peggy Kelly, (second from left) receives congratulations from Superintendent of Schools Dr. Anna Cutaia, Mayor Ben Blake, and Assistant Superintendent of Schools Dr. Amy Fedigan.

Peggy Kelly, (second from left) receives congratulations from Superintendent of Schools Dr. Anna Cutaia, Mayor Ben Blake, and Assistant Superintendent of Schools Dr. Amy Fedigan.

Milford Public Schools / Contributed photo

MILFORD — For Mayor Ben Blake, Milford Family Resource Center Director Peggy Kelly is nothing short of a “a true force of nature.”

Blake spoke as Kelly’s last day last day as director of the center and as director of the Ready to Learn program is March 19.

“We want to thank Peggy Kelly for her 24-plus years with Milford Public Schools,” Blake said of Kelly.

Kelly is “someone who everyone appreciates. Peggy makes these personal connections and cares about people,” Blake said. “She has a special gift to reach everyone with whom she comes into contact.”

Milford feted Kelly for her service as an educator and program administrator with a surprise COVID-safe Peggy Kelly Day celebration on March 3.

Superintendent of Schools Anna Cutaia said Kelly “is best known for her common-sense approach to tackling programs.”

“That (attitude) is only outweighed by her deep generosity to the community, as well as her heartfelt laughter that we all have come to know and enjoy,” Cutaia said.

“Always with a flair for style, Peggy truly enjoys beauty in all things - as well as great conversation,” Cutaia said. “She is a friend to all. To say she will be missed is an understatement.”

Kelly saw the need for families across Milford and wrote a School Readiness Proposal in 1997 that was sent to the Connecticut State Department of Education, officials said. It ultimately became the basis for the Ready to Learn program, initially at Simon Lake Elementary School.

Blake said Kelly also “is a real community asset, from her work with the United Way to the Salvation Army to the Pre-School Showcase.

“There are so many things that she is involved with that you think she may spread herself too thin. That isn’t the case,” he said. “The more she took on; the more successful every program became because she could juggle and those balls in the air at the same time.”

Kelly worked to expand the hours and services provided by the Ready to Learn and the Milford Family Resource Center programs.

“The depth and breadth of Peggy’s involvement is as varied and far-reaching as the residents in Milford she serves,” Cutaia said. “She is truly a dynamo at masterfully putting people, places, and assistance together.”

Organizations and foundations that Kelly have helped include Kids’ Count, Beth-El Center, Salvation Army, Good Shepherd Child Care Center, and the National Association for the Education of Young Children, officials said.

According to a release, Kelly also has been involved with: the United Way Funding Drive, United Way Bottoms Up Diaper Drive, Kids’ Count Preschool Showcase, Salvation Army Kettle Drive, Men Who Love to Cook Fundraiser, Salvation Army Backpack Distribution, Keeping Milford Warm Fundraisers, John Peterson Memorial Preschool Scholarship Fund the Kids’ Count Legislative Breakfast, Kids’ Count Harborlight Happening, Milford Family Resource Center Adopt-A-Family (Christmas gifts/business community involvement) and Kids’ Count Half Hour Grocery Shopping Spree (with ShopRite/Milford).

Kelly earned a bachelor’s degree from UMASS/Boston in management and human services and was clinical director with Boston Community Services for 12 years before moving to Connecticut with her family, officials said. She came to the Milford Public Schools 1996, serving as program manager for the Milford Family Resource Center.

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