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New London - Louis E. Allen Jr. - who played an integral part in developing the Science and Technology Magnet High School of Southeastern Connecticut and who is its first and only director - will retire after this school year.
"I've been contemplating it for a couple of months," Allen, who has worked for New London Public Schools for 22 years, said Monday. "New London is in a good place right now, and I feel confident that I'm leaving the school in a good place."
Allen, 62, has been the director of the STEM magnet high school since it first opened its doors in 2006. Before that, Allen was principal of New London High School from 1992 to 2001 and then again from 2004 until 2006. Between stints as principal of the high school, Allen served as director of human resources and labor relations in the district's central office.
"There goes another jewel in our crown," Board of Education President Margaret Mary Curtin said of Allen's retirement.
Though he is retiring, Allen said he doesn't want to just kick back and relax.
"It's not my nature to relax too much," he said.
In fact, he said he would like to continue to work with the magnet high school as it expands some of its academic offerings thanks to a federal magnet school assistance grant it received last year.
"I'm entertaining working with the implementation of that grant and how it affects the magnet high school," he said. "I'd like to continue to work with the school without having to focus on some of the day-to-day minutiae."
Allen said he made the decision to retire in early March and told the school's faculty. Last week, he sent a letter to magnet high school students' homes to inform parents of his retirement.
Now, Allen is working on a letter to his students. He said that one will be the most significant.
"The students are my passion," he said. "As much as I want to put that letter together right away, I think it merits me taking my time."
Though Allen is retiring from his job as director of the STEM magnet high school, he said it isn't necessarily the end of his 40-year career in education.
"My future is up in the air, but I'd like to work through that grant to stay involved with the school," Allen said. "I'm also passionate about building a robust alumni and parent organization, so that will be some of my focus moving forward."