Veteran of the Month – Leonard G. Lanza, Ph. D.

January 30, 2015

Leonard G. Lanza, Ph.D.

Place of Birth:
New Britain, CT

Date of Birth:
July 14, 1937

Military Branch of Service:
United States Navy

Enlisted, Commissioned, or Drafted?:

Service Dates:
1/23/56 – 2/9/65 (Enlisted/Discharged)
7/31/61 – 7/30/63 (Active Duty)
Nine days prior to Lanza’s scheduled active duty in 1956, he was a passenger in an auto accident. It took the Navy 6 years to find him physically fit for active duty. Some of that time included college deferments. Lanza was discharged and reenlisted simultaneously so that he would have sufficient time to serve his active duty obligation.

Highest Rank:
Yeoman third class/YN3 (E-4)

Military Job:
Court Reporter/ Legal Yeoman


  • Held U.S. Navy Legal Office mid management positions at sea and on flagships (carried admiral) and at shore installation (with admiral)
  • Prepared all shipboard and command legal proceedings and maintained files.
  • Performed the duties as court reporter for courts martial and administrative hearings, prepared verbatim records of trail

Unit, Division, Battalion, Group, Ship etc.:
USS Boston (CAG-1) (8/61-6/62)
Commander Cruiser Destroyer Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet
USS Yosemite (AD-19) (6/62-7/63)

War, Operation, or Conflict served in:

  • Berlin Crisis (1961)
  • Cuban Missile Crisis (1962)
  • Vietnam (Not in the country)

Locations of Service:

  • Mediterranean Sea
  • Caribbean Sea
  • Atlantic Ocean


  • Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (Berlin Crisis)
  • Navy Expeditionary Medal (Cuban Missile Crisis)
  • National Defense Medal (Vietnam)
  • Joint Services Commendation Medal (Cuban Missile Crisis)
  • Naval Reserve Meritorious Service Medal
  • Connecticut Veterans War Time Service Medal

Military Schools/Training:
Naval Justice School, Newport, RI (9/61-11-/61)

Name of Post:

  • Veterans of Foreign Wars Metacomet Post 1926, Simsbury (Immediate Past Commander)
  • Tomalonis-Hall American Legion Post 84, Simsbury (Past Adjutant)

Bio/Narrative/Memorable Events:

From Leonard G. Lanza:

I was born and spent the first twenty-four years of life in a third floor apartment in downtown New Britain, the middle child of three children. I started shining shoes on Main St. at the age of seven, and I did that until I switched to delivering eighty afternoon newspapers a day for the New Britain Herald at age ten.

I joined the Navy at age eighteen, requested immediate active duty, and I finally reported for active duty at age twenty-four. Many medical and college deferments filled the interning years. I was no longer the gung ho eighteen year old playboy. I was married to my high school sweetheart, we had a two year old son, and I was a college graduate (CCSU). Uncle Sam told me if he wanted me to have a wife and son he would put them in my sea bag. I worked full-time in a local factory while also attending college full-time.

Since being discharged from active duty and moving to Simsbury in 1961, Lanza has accomplished the following:

  • Education
    • Received a M.Ed. from the University of Hartford, 1966 (Educational Administration + supervision)
    • 6th year certificate, University of Hartford, 1974
    • Ph.D.- Florida State, 1976 (Design and Management of School Systems) – Included sabbatical leave from Simsbury, moving family to Florida to complete residency requirements and having a twenty hour per week teaching assistantship
  • Served nineteen plus years as Simsbury Schools Administrator
    • Principal, Latimer Lane school (3 ½ years)
    • Principal, Tariffville School (9 years)
    • Vice Principal- Henry James Memorial School (2 ½ years)
    • Director, system wide program for intellectual gifted (started program with twenty-six 6th grade students – grew to 450 K-8 students)
  • Served thirteen years as Superintendent of Schools in the towns of Barkhamsted, Colebrook, and Norfolk
  • University teaching (part-time)
    • St. Joseph College (3 years) teaching reading and language arts
    • Central Connecticut State University (1998-98) teaching educational administration and school finance
  • Filled nine interim superintendent of schools positions. Since retiring in 1995, Lanza set a State of Connecticut record when he completed his ninth interim superintendent role in 2011.
  • Educational consultant position (18 ½ years) – From 1996 to the present, Lanza has served as a part- time consultant to the Policy Department at Connecticut Association Boards of Education (CABE)

Community involvement:

  • Secretary, Simsbury Charter Commission (1st) – 1978-80
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars (19 years) – immediate past commander
  • American Legion (17 years) – Trustee, past adjutant
  • Memorial Day and Veterans Day Ceremonies
    • Grand Marshall
    • Speaker
    • Master of Ceremonies
  • Color guard/ honor guard
  • Wreaths Across America – color guard/ wreath bearer annually
  • Simsbury Veterans Memorial
    • Originator of statement of need and development of concept
    • Chairman of Committee (75 meetings to date) which had evolved through selection of architect/ land planner, design, location, local approval processes, fundraising and anticipated construction and completion in 2015.