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Urban Education Leaders Program
Department of Organization and Leadership
Dr. Ann-Marie DeGraffenreidt
Dr. Ann-Marie DeGraffenreidt is currently the Director of Program Development for the Education Division within the Connecticut Department of Children and Families. Her responsibilities include providing legal advice to the Unified School District #2, which is a district comprised of the children living within the three residential facilities that are part of DCF and children who are in private residential facilities that have no parents. She also provides education consultation on cases involving psychiatrically impaired teenagers who are transitioning to adulthood. She also works with the attorneys who are members of the CT Child Justice Foundation, an organization created by the Commissioner of DCF to ensure that the educational rights of children in foster care are protected. She is the former Director of the TeamChild Project at the Center for Children’s Advocacy. She is also an Adjunct Professor at Southern Connecticut State University in the Educational Leadership Department, teaching Education Law and Education, Policy and the Law. Her past experience includes representing local boards of education, both as a municipal and private attorney, and the Department of Children and Families, as an Assistant Attorney General. Ms. DeGraffenreidt has also served on a variety of boards, including the board of education in her home town.
Dr. Christopher Clouet
Dr. Christopher Clouet is currently the Superintendent of the Shelton Public Schools in Connecticut. Dr. Clouet has worked as a superintendent of schools for the past sixteen years, mostly in urban/suburban settings. Before that he served as a high school principal, a district curriculum coordinator, a technology director, and as a bilingual teacher.
In Shelton Dr. Clouet has introduced a well-received Vocabulary Project featuring the community-wide “Word of the Week”. He led efforts to secure a five-year federal grant to enhance instruction for English Learners. The funding includes community partners such as the Boys & Girls Club and the public library.
Before returning to Connecticut, Dr. Clouet was the Superintendent of the Union Free School District of the Tarrytowns in Westchester. There he led efforts to successfully pass a $10 million Capital Projects bond referendum and worked closely with community and regional partners to develop the 40 acre Peabody Preserve Outdoor Classroom to support hands-on learning in environmental science and the arts. In Connecticut, Dr. Clouet served as Superintendent of the New London Public Schools, New London, CT for five years. In that role, Dr. Clouet was the statewide chair of the Connecticut Association of Urban Superintendents (CAUS) for several years, the STEM Council Chair of the Eastern CT Workforce Investment Board, and was a member of the Executive Board of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS).
From 2009-2013, Dr. Clouet led the White Plains City School District in Westchester, NY where he led an initiative to restructure middle school education, and was awarded a multi-million dollar innovation grant to support the effort. He chaired the WPCSD district committee that organized and successfully received voter support for a $48 million capital project bond referendum.
Dr. Clouet received his Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Southern CT State University, his Masters in Corporate & Political Communication from Fairfield University, his Masters in International Studies from Brown University, and his Doctorate of Education in Educational Administration Studies from Teachers College Columbia University.
Dr. DeWayne Davis
Dr. DeWayne Davis has been an educator for over 23 years in the Los Angeles area of California. He began his career in Inglewood Unified School District as a teacher. During his time as a teacher he taught English and Social Studies to students considered “highly at-risk”. As the participating students academically excelled beyond the other students in the school, Dr. Davis was recognized for assisting students to achieve, and as such he was promoted to Categorical Program Coordinator where he was primarily responsible for the educational needs of socio-economically disadvantaged students. Later, Dr. Davis was promoted to Asst. Principal of Curriculum and Instruction for his school-wide work as a Coordinator. His commitment to educating students and preparing them to be college ready and career prepared gained him further notoriety; subsequently, he was recruited into the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) to duplicate his work.
Shortly after entering LAUSD, Dr. Davis began his doctoral research at Pepperdine University. Interested in why some schools historically fail to educate students and how best to meet student’s educational needs, Dr. Davis focused his doctoral research on school reform. His research findings identified ways that schools get in their own way of continuous improvement and yielded the various ways school systems could bring best practices to scale and sustain effective schools. Promoted to Principal, Dr. Davis used his research findings as a theoretical platform to reform some of Los Angeles most challenging schools; as such, DeWayne was assigned as Director-Secondary Instruction to replicate his work and further expand the scale of school improvement through the development of leadership and transformation of secondary school administrators.
Dr. Davis has received many honors over the years; such as, but not limited to, entry into theGuide to California’s Top Performing Public School-2003; recipient of the California Department of Education’s, Title One Achievement Award-2009; the California Department of Education’s, California’s Distinguished School Award-2010; the Stovall Educational Foundation’s- Educator of the Year; and, Middle School Principal of the Year-2010, by the Association of California School Administrators.
Dr. George Goldstein
Dr. George Goldstein served for 20 years as Superintendent of Schools for the Sewanhaka Central High School District in Nassau County, NY., and retiring in 2006. He has completed 10 years as Associate Professor of Education and Psychology for Touro College and is currently in his 25th year as a College Professor. Dr. Goldstein has taught for the United States Information Agency at Moscow State University, Beijing University, and as a Summer Fellow at Oxford University, England. He has been New York State Superintendent of the Year and Fellow of the Kettering Foundation, chair of the New York State Governor’s Excelsior Award program, and Senior National Examiner for the US Department of Education. As superintendent, his schools received over 20 state and national awards including recognition for development of five Presidential Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence and the first award of National District of Excellence presented by the U.S. Department of Education. Dr. Goldstein is a nationally recognized speaker, consultant to more than 20 school districts throughout the United States and has made presentations to more than 35 professional organizations. He is recipient of three National Awards from the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) – Leadership for Learning, Presidential Award for Technology and the Paul Salmon High Honors for Distinguished Leadership. In 1996 he placed second in the competition for AASA’s National Superintendent of the Year.
Dr. James Parla
Dr. James Parla served as a Superintendent of schools in New York and New Jersey for more than seventeen years. He also served as an Assistant Superintendent for business, elementary School Principal and classroom teacher. In addition to his experience as a public school administrator and teacher, Dr. Parla served as a member of his local board of education for fourteen years.
Dr. Parla received recognition for his service in public education. The majority of his career was in New York where he received the PTA Jenkins Memorial Scholarship Award, New York State PTA honorary life membership, honorary membership in the Tri-M Music Honor Society and many proclamations from local and state legislators. In New Jersey, he was recognized as number 14 on Mercer County’s list of the “25 Most Interesting People in 2013”.
Dr. Parla was a frequent presenter and panelist for the New York State School Boards Association on a variety of topics in education including curriculum development, careers in education and school finance. He also participated as a guest speaker and panelist at Adelphi University, Hofstra University and Dowling College. Dr. Parla was a member of the Adelphi University School of Education Advisory Committee, Nassau Music Educators Advisory Board and the Board of Directors of SCOPE, a nonprofit organization supporting schools on Long Island. He is the former president of the Nassau County Council of School Superintendents.
Prior to pursuing a career in public school administration, Dr. Parla served as an Assistant Dean of the Hagan School of Business at Iona College and Director of Public Communications for NYNEX. He is currently an adjunct faculty member in the Urban Education Leaders Program at Columbia University Teachers College and the Graduate Education Program at Touro College. He is a volunteer for Treasure Coast Community Health and serves as a member of the Technical Center for Career and Adult Education Advisory Committee for the Indian River County School District.
Dr. Parla received his Bachelor of Science from the State University of New York at Oneonta, his Master of Arts from Adelphi University, his Master of Business Administration from Iona College, and his Doctorate of Education from Columbia University Teachers College.
Dr. Debra Reecks-Rodgers
Dr. Reecks-Rodgers is presently a full-time lecturer in the Education Department of St. Francis College, instructing potential and beginning education majors in the philosophy and history of education as well as teaching effective teaching strategies for declared childhood and adolescent education majors.
With over 30 years experience as a public schoolteacher and central school district administrator in NYC and several Long Island school districts, Dr. Reecks-Rodgers has broad administrative experiences as personnel administrator, staff developer, school board trustee, executive to several superintendents and SETRC director for a team of 36 teacher-trainers for city-wide special education settings. Other experiences acquired outside of education include corporate board trustee, retail operations manager, retail personnel specialist, and radio announcer.
All of the above mentioned experiences helped to hone Dr. Reecks-Rodgers’ knowledge of innovative teaching concepts, teacher retention concerns and women’s opportunities in both the academic and corporate worlds. Most significantly, her research interest, and dissertation at Teachers College, is in the realm of women’s opportunities in education administration and leadership with a specific emphasis on the work/family dilemmas of women superintendents of public school districts.
Dr. Robert Monson
Dr. Robert Monson is an associate professor of educational leadership at Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York. He is also an adjunct associate professor of education leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University where he is a faculty member in the Cahn Fellowship for Distinguished New York City Principals. Also at Teachers College, advises doctoral dissertations, coordinates the Education Policy Fellowship Program, offered in collaboration with the Institute for Educational Leadership in Washington, DC.. From 2000 to 2009, he was a senior lecturer and program coordinator in education leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University. He holds a B.A. in political science, an M.A. in curriculum and instruction, and a Ph.D. in educational administration from Saint Louis University. In 1977, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Across seven states he has served public school children in the capacities of teacher, high school assistant principal, high school principal, assistant superintendent, and four superintendent positions in Ohio, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New York. From 1990 to 2000 he taught in Lesley University’s national curriculum and instruction masters degree program. From 1990 to 1992, he served as a member of the advisory board of the Harvard Principals Center. In 1997, he was a visiting faculty member at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. In recent years he has served as a consultant for ASCD, Public Agenda,the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, and the Tri-States Standards Consortium. Currently, he is consultant to the University of Cambridge (UK) International Examinations and is engaged in principal professional development initiatives in China. He has co-authored two volumes on performance assessment for Zephyr Press and has published numerous journal articles on curriculum, assessment, and literacy education. His professional interests lie in leadership development, curriculum and learning, and public engagement.