CAS-CIAC To Induct Six Into Hall of Honor
On Thursday evening April 6, CAS-CIAC will induct a class of six individuals into its Hall of Honor. The induction ceremony will take place at the Aqua Turf in Plantsville. The esteemed Hall of Honor class of 2022-2023 includes Armand Fabbri, Dr. Robert Lehr, Dr. Karissa Niehoff, Louis Pear, Michael Rafferty and Joseph Tonelli. This is the sixth class of inductees
The CAS-CIAC Hall of Honor was established in 2015 to honor individuals who have made significant long-term contributions to CAS-CIAC. Candidates for induction are considered for their efforts in one of seven categories:
Friend of Education
Contribution to Education
Contribution to Athletics
Service to Education
Service to Athletics
Armand Fabbri’s career in education spanned 50 years, primarily in Catholic education. In 1994 he was appointed Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Bridgeport. His contributions to CAS-CIAC included work on the CIAC football committee and serving on the CIAC Board of Control. In 1991 he received a CAS letter of commendation and in 1994 a CAS Citation.
In 17 years at Southington High School Dr. Robert Lehr was honored with both state and national Athletic Director of the Year Awards. At CIAC Lehr oversaw nine different sports, and was a driving force in advancing the sports of bowling and girls wrestling. Additionally, Bob’s dedicated stewardship of Connecticut’s Spirit of Sport Award produced multiple Section 1 honorees and two National Spirit of Sport recipients.
Dr. Karissa Niehoff’s rise to Chief Executive Officer of the National Federation of State High School Associations tells the story of a remarkable leader. Physical education teacher, coach, athletic director and principal are among the positions that led Niehoff to become a champion of education-based athletics. From 2010 to 2018 she served as Executive Director for CAS-CIAC before becoming the first woman to head the National Federation of State High School Associations in Indianapolis.
A member of the Rocky Hill High School Athletic Hall of Fame, Louis Pear made his mark as an outstanding elementary school physical education teacher, and later, building principal. His second career at CAS-CIAC saw him serve as both Assistant Director for Elementary Schools and later as Director of Unified Sports. He led Unified Sports through incredible growth and further established Connecticut’s reputation as a national leader in Unified. Pear has been honored with both a CAS Letter of Commendation and a CAS Citation.
A Milken Family Foundation National Education Award recipient, Michael Rafferty was the 22-year, tireless principal at Old Saybrook Middle School. His school was twice honored as CAS Middle School of the Year and in 2000 he was honored as the Connecticut Middle School Principal of the Year. Rafferty served as CAS President from 2006 to 2008 and has received both a CAS Letter of Commendation and a prestigious CAS Citation.
Joseph Tonelli spent a remarkable 39 years as a teacher, coach, and athletic administrator at his alma mater – Notre Dame High School in West Haven. The history of the Connecticut Association of Athletic Directors and the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference can’t be told without highlighting the contributions of Tonelli. Following his retirement from Notre Dame in 2006, Tonelli was the Director of the CIAC Officials Association and a CIAC executive staff member until 2019.