Peg Beecher, formerly a principal of two West Hartford elementary schools, died in October 2022 at age 79.
Notable retired West Hartford educator Margaret Rose (Peg) Beecher-Hlavacek passed away on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022, at the age of 79, with her husband, James Hlavacek, at her side.
Peg graduated from Torrington High School in 1961 and after earning her bachelor of science in education from the University of Southern Maine, furthered her studies with a master of science in education (concentration in reading) from Central Connecticut State University, and earned a Sixth-Year Diploma in professional education from the University of Connecticut.
Peg’s ties to West Hartford Public Schools ran deep and her efforts undoubtedly helped countless children’s’ lives here in West Hartford. Following a stint at CREC, she joined West Hartford Public Schools in 1987 as director of the district’s gifted and talented program (QUEST) in all 11 elementary schools as well as the middle schools, and continued in that role until 1997 while simultaneously taking on the role as director of the Saturday Spectacular enrichment program – doing double duty from 1992 until 1995.
She became principal of Charter Oak International Academy in 1997 and in 2005 moved over to Bugbee School as principal – where she finished her career with West Hartford Public Schools in 2010 with countless accolades, including recognition for being the Distinguished Outstanding School Administrator for 2007.
Each summer for 35 years, Peg taught seminars for teachers at UConn’s Storrs campus. She was also an adjunct professor at Saint Joseph College (now the University of Saint Joseph).
She received numerous other awards both in West Hartford and elsewhere over her five decades of teaching and outstanding leadership.
Peg touched many thousands of lives in West Hartford and beyond, improving education and inspiring children throughout the district. Her leadership and inspirational style are still felt throughout the system today and the kids she helped along the way now dot the country, remembering her unique style and charm and likely spreading it as well.
She also was an author of a book: “Developing the Gifts and Talents of All Students in the Regular Classroom” (1995), and many articles in professional journals. Peg conducted hundreds of teacher workshops during her career; she had a passion for training and improving teachers’ skills, each workshop would last from one to five days, and include topics like “Differentiation & Compacting the Curriculum” and “Performance-Based Assessment.” In addition to working in the United States, Peg did workshops in Japan (for DoD teachers), Canada, England, and Switzerland.
West Harford is a better community today because of the effort and contribution of Peg.
As stated in her obituary, “Peg was an extraordinary woman, wife, mother and friend to many. She loved life and always, always had the biggest smile on her face. She loved spending time with her grandchildren. Enjoyed winter vacations in Fort Myers, Florida, and attending plays at the Bushnell. She loved a recent river cruise in Europe. Peggy will be deeply missed by all who knew her and loved her.”
Peg was born on April 28, 1943, in Torrington CT to Isabella (O’Heron) and Donald Beecher. She was the beloved wife of Major James Jordan Hlavacek, USAF (Ret.). In addition to her husband James, she is survived by a son Michael Cellerino and his wife Kristen and grandchildren, Trevor, Sophie and MacKenzie. Her daughter Maria Schweyer and her husband Joseph and grandchildren Lizzie, Ben and Katie, stepson James J. Hlavacek, Jr. and his wife Jennifer and grandchildren, Emma and James. Stepson Scott Hlavacek and his wife Danielle and grandchildren, Colin and Mikayla, an older brother Stephen Beecher, and sister Donna Zuffalatto, as well as a younger brother, D. Wayne Beecher, and sister Debbie Pasquale.
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