William Jassey, 81, a world language educator and founder of Norwalk's Center for Global Studies, died Tuesday afternoon of a brain aneurysm.
"He was a visionary," said Center for Global Studies Director Roslynne McCarthy. "He was the driving force behind the creation of CGS. The structure of our program is as he imagined it." The Center for Global Studies is an interdistrict magnet school at Brien McMahon High School that focuses on Arabic, Chinese and Japanese languages, history and culture.
Services were held Thursday at Leo P. Gallagher Funeral Home in Stamford. "Many Norwalk teachers were there. It was very crowded," said McCarthy, who attended the funeral.
From 1964 to 1999, Jassey was the district supervisor of foreign languages and social studies for the Norwalk Public Schools. After retiring from the district, he became the director the international degree program at the School of Education and Human Resources at the University of Bridgeport.
Jassey looked back on his career in an article published on NorwalkNet.com , a local education blog.
"As Norwalks first citywide supervisor assigned in 1964, I realized then that the basic tool of communication was for students to immerse themselves in language and culture, and to that end, it would behoove Norwalkers to be provided with the wonderful world of languages," wrote Jassey, who was committed to K-12 language instruction. Currently, the district does not have a foreign language instructional specialist.
After retiring, Jassey, a resident of Wilton, remained involved with the Norwalk schools. He organized exchange trips to Japan at Roton and Ponus Middle Schools and brought world language teachers into the elementary and middle schools. TheDailyNorwalk.com interviewed Jassey and his wife, Ikuko, in mid-March after the recent Japanese earthquake and tsunami. Within days of the disaster, 14 Japanese exchange students came to Norwalk. We are going to take good care of the kids and make them forget about what is happening back home, said Jassey. We are going to love them and show them the time of their lives.
Just two weeks ago, Jassey brought students from Harding High School in Bridgeport to the Center for Global Studies to show them Chinese language and culture program. "He was dedicated to bridging he gap between cultures," said McCarthy.
Do you have a Bill Jassey memory? Please share it below.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.