School of Professional Studies

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Administration (MPA)


School of Professional Studies

Chief Instructor

Mary Piecewicz


In the summer of 2019, in Killingly, Connecticut the local Board of Education voted to retire the "Redmen" mascot name it had used for nearly a century. This legislation was widely opposed and received extensive media coverage. Within a few months, the town experienced a massive political referendum where several local Board of Education members and Councilmen were replaced by single issue politicians promising to reinstate the "Redmen" name. Now holding a majority on the Board of Education, these Board members made Killingly the first school in U.S. history to reinstate a mascot after being deemed "derogatory."

It is the responsibility of public administrators to balance the dichotomy that exists between politics and administration in the public sector. This case study seeks to understand how balancing this dichotomy may have been a major issue for administrators like the Superintendent, Town Manager, and other Town officials in Killingly. Further, by examining other similar cases and related literature, I seek to explain what these administrators could have done to see a successful implementation of a politically and socially acceptable mascot. The purpose of this case study is to provide a case for other administrators to turn to and apply key learnings from the Killingly case to their own experience. With Thousands of schools around the country facing pressure to move away from Native American mascots, this case will be extremely valuable in the future.



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