Ken LaRocque's Inspirational Era
By Jacqueline Keller
January 29, 2019
“There is no question in my mind that the magic of an Avon education lies with our faculty.”
- Ken LaRocque, P '01, '10
As Avon Old Farms School headed into 2019, several things were on our collective mind. Among them, bidding farewell to a beloved headmaster and honoring his unmatched dedication to our community.
No one has embodied Avon’s mission to cultivate young men of integrity who honor wisdom, justice, inclusion, service, and the pursuit of truth better than Headmaster Kenneth H. LaRocque. But, when asked who he thinks is the real heart and soul of our school, he without hesitation will say, ‘The faculty.’
“I have been here for 38 years, and so many things have changed during that time—the campus has improved dramatically, the composition of our student body has become more diverse,” he began. “But, the one thing that has been an absolute constant throughout my tenure is the important role that our faculty plays in the lives of our students and our success as a school.”
There is no faculty anywhere that works harder than the faculty of Avon Old Farms School. We know that because they tell us.
“When I meet with members of our faculty, they tell me how much more we expect of them than their previous employers,” LaRocque explained. “They also talk about how much busier they are, how much more productive they are, and actually, how much more fulfilled they are because they know they are making a difference.”
When interviewing students, parents, and alumni about their experience here, they often talk about individual faculty members or our faculty as a whole as the thing that makes Avon special.
“Avon’s campus is beautiful. Our architecture is unique. But when people talk about their experience, it’s the faculty they point to,” agreed LaRocque. “It’s the relationships that began here that last a lifetime.”
While the faculty dedicate their lives to the mission of Avon, Headmaster LaRocque has dedicated his life to being their biggest advocate.
He explained, “Public school teachers in our state are paid more than public school teachers in any other. And, here in Connecticut, we are surrounded by other independent schools, many of which have much larger endowments than Avon. For us to attract and retain quality teachers who possess the passion and commitment to educating boys that our mission requires, we need to provide for them.
“The future of Avon is tied to the quality of our faculty,” he said. “If they continue to excel, the positive educational outcomes will continue. The transformation of our boys will continue. And Avon will flourish.”
To honor his unwavering commitment to the Avon Old Farms faculty, the school has chosen to honor Headmaster LaRocque’s retirement after 38 years with the creation of the LaRocque Faculty Fund. This lasting fund will honor LaRocque’s life, legacy, and enduring commitment to education by enhancing our faculty’s professional development opportunities, salaries, and benefits, thereby continuing to inspire our exceptional educators.
“I believe in nothing more deeply than the power of our faculty, and with it, the success of this school,” LaRocque concluded. “To those considering making a contribution to this fund, I thank you for honoring me... it is sincerely appreciated. There is nothing more important to me than supporting our faculty—the people who day in and day out give themselves fully in service to this community and our students. The creation of this fund prioritizes the importance of our faculty. It is because of their extraordinary commitment to our mission that Avon is the best school for boys.”