West Hartford Town Manager Ron Van Winkle announced Thursday morning that he has selected Helen Rubino-Turco to take over for Director of Human and Leisure Services Director Jim Capodiece who will retire on March 1.
Van Winkle said the decision was made after meetings with Human and Leisure Services Department staff as well as park directors in other towns.
In seeking a replacement for Capodiece, Van Winkle said he considered splitting human and leisure services back into separate departments. The departments have been merged since Capodiece took over human services in 2006.
"There's a lot of synergy between them, and it brings a good perspective to both," said Van Winkle of his decision to keep the departments combined.
Van Winkle said he was looking for someone "strongly connected in this community," and interviewed several candidates. "Helen is very involved on the sports side, and has been connected in so many ways as a resident and a volunteer," he said.
Rubino-Turco currently serves as the director of Celebrate West Hartford. She was founder and president of the Field of Dreams which raised money for development of the Goodrich Soccer Complex and renovation of other fields throughout town. She has served as president of the Foundation for West Hartford Public Schools, president of the West Hartford Women’s Soccer Club, and co-president of the Duffy Elementary School PTO. She is currently co-president of the Conard High School PTO.
In 2012 Rubino-Turco was selected as “Citizen of the Year” by the West Hartford Education Association.
"Helen has always been a tireless promoter for West Hartford's citizens, especially the tiny ones who can't speak up for themselves," said Jas Singh, a former Sedgwick Middle School science teacher who is now a vice principal at Hall High School, at the Citizen of the Year presentation last May.
"I could go on, but her connections to the community are substantial and her experience in fundraising and sports will serve her well in her new position," Van Winkle said in an email announcing the appointment.
"I am honored to be appointed by Ron Van Winkle and look forward to working with the group of professionals who manage this town. Because of my work with Celebrate West Hartford and Field of Dreams, I've been fortunate to work closely with Jim Capodiece for years. Jim led the Human Services and Leisure Services departments extremely well. Obviously, I have big leadership shoes to fill," Rubino-Turco said.
"Helen is a quick study, with many community contacts. She works hard at any project given her, and I know will do the same as the Director of Human & Leisure Services. Over the past few years she has lead a group of volunteers that have made Celebrate West Hartford one of the finest community events anywhere in the state. She will continue to serve West Hartford well in her new position," said Capodiece.
Rubino-Turco is a native of Bethesda, MD, a graduate of Walt Whitman High School and Vassar College. She is married to Paul Turco, and has three sons who are students at Conard.