First earning a Bachelor of Science from the City College of New York in 1961, Sondra Astor Stave began her career as a teacher in the Montour School District in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, in 1962. Moving to Connecticut, she joined the Milford Public Schools in 1965, where she taught until 1967. At this point, Ms. Stave transitioned her career from education to public service, joining the American Civil Liberties Union and serving as the first president of the northeastern Connecticut chapter in 1971. She went on to serve as a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission of Coventry, Connecticut, from 1972 to 1974 and as the chair of the commission from 1974 to 1977. Ms. Stave also began her association with the Inland Wetland Agency in 1974 and held various roles with the organization between 1984 and 1994.
In 1977, Ms. Stave achieved a Master of Public Administration from the University of Connecticut and subsequently served as the director of the city of Hartford and the greater Hartford region from 1979 to 1980. Furthermore, she also published a book on Hartford, “Hartford, the City and Region: Past, Present, Future: A Collection of Essays,” in 1979. Her next role was as the director of Footsteps of History from 1980 to 1982, which was followed by two years as the director of the Connecticut Library Association. During this time, she made a return to education on the Board of Education for the Coventry Public Schools in 1981 before becoming an instructor at Peking University in Beijing from 1984 to 1985 and a scholar-in-residence for Manchester High School in 1986.
Obtaining certification as an intermediate administrator, Ms. Stave concluded her career in education as the director of Mansfield Adult Education from 1987 to 1996, where she ran a program that included high school equivalency courses, English as a second language courses, and various recreational courses. Committed to furthering her own education as well, she returned to the University of Connecticut in 1988, ultimately graduating with a Doctor of Philosophy in 1993. Her doctoral dissertation, “Achieving Racial Balance: Case Studies in School Desegregation,” was published by Greenwood Press in 1995. Outside of her work in education, she co-authored a series of cookbooks between 1987 and 1995, including “Recipes From Coventry’s First 275 Years,” “Exclusively Rhubarb Cookbook,” “Exclusively Pumpkin Cookbook,” “Exclusively Corn Cookbook,” “Exclusively Blueberry Cookbook” and “Exclusively Broccoli Cookbook.”
Today, Ms. Stave serves as the chair of the Economic Development Commission for Coventry, a position she has held since 1986. She is incredibly proud of the fact that, over the course of her career, she has spent a cumulative 50 years as chair of every major town board, commission and council, with the exception of the town council. She has also spent more than two decades as a reader for the Connecticut Radio Information System and maintains membership with Pi Alpha Alpha, Pi Lambda Theta, and the League of Women Voters, where she has spent time on the board of directors and the government relations committee. Ms. Stave’s current work involves the organization of a library project for which the town has raised $75,000.
For her excellence, Ms. Stave was recognized early on with a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1980. Since then, she has had a featured article appear in North East Magazine and was presented with a plaque of recognition for 20 years of service to the Connecticut Radio Information System. Above everything, she takes the most pride in being able to make a difference in the lives of others, be that through her work on town boards to improve the quality of life in her community or as an educator supporting her students. She was always deeply proud of her adult students, who went on to have flourishing careers later in life. As she looks toward the future, Ms. Stave has plans to write a book reflecting on her life and career.