New Members Elected for the Neag Alumni Society Board of Governors

The following eight individuals were elected to the Neag Alumni Society Board of Governors at the annual meeting in November at the Alumni Center.

Neag alumni board
Pictured top row (L-R): Kate Heintz Lund, Rebecca Stearns and Margaret Clifton. Bottom row (L-R): Jeremy Vigneault, Christine Emmons, John Gedney and Anthony Distasio. Not pictured: Desi Nesmith.

Margaret Clifton (M.A. Curriculum and Instruction, English Education ’05) is an English teacher at RHAM High School in Hebron, CT. Clifton hopes to promote Neag School’s benefits to prospective students as well as those already affiliated with education instruction. She has worked at RHAM High School since graduating from the Neag School, preparing and teaching lessons for grades  10 and 12 college preparatory English classes, as well as co-teaching a print journalism class. Clifton received her B.A. in English and Journalism from UConn, she went onto her earn her M.A. through the Teacher Certification Teacher Preparation Program in the Neag School. She is a member of the NEA and CEA and participates in the Manchester Musical Players and Windham Theatre Guild.

Anthony W. Distasio (Sixth-Year Diploma in Educational Administration  ’82 and Ph.D. in Educational Administration ’85) has been  superintendent of the Plymouth School District since 2001. He has attended several workshops and seminars sponsored by the Neag School of Education. Distasio, principal of Torrington Middle School, 1985- 94, and Northeast Middle School, 1994-2001,  hopes to bring a practicing administrator’s perspective to his new position.

Christine L. Emmons (Ph.D. in Educational Psychology ’92) is an associate research scientist for Yale University’s Child Study Center and the director of program evaluation at the Yale School Development Program in the Yale School of Medicine Child Study Center. She received her B.A. from the University of the West Indies and a master’s in library science from the University of Western Ontario. She was previously an elementary school teacher and, in her native Granada, was librarian of the Education Resource Centers. Emmons’ responsibilities i include the design and management of the Yale School Development research program. Her research interests include  the relationship between the psychosocial environment of schools, students’ sense of self and student behavior.

John Gedney (Sixth-Year Diploma in Educational Administration in ’03) is a former member of the UCAPP 12 cohort and is the principal of Region 10’s Lake Garda School. For eight years, Gedney was  co-principal of Lewin Joel School in Clinton, CT, and before that taught fourth and fifth grade at Southwest School in Torrington, CT.  Gedney also served in the Navy Submarine Force for  23 years.

Kate Heintz Lund (B.S. in English Education ’06 and M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction, English Education, ’07) teaches English at Lyme-Old Lyme High School in Old Lyme, CT, and is  enrolled in the Neag School’s Sixth-Year Diploma in Educational Administration Program.

Desi D. Nesmith (B.S. in Elementary Education ’01, M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction, Elementary Education, ’02, and Sixth-Year Diploma in Educational Administration ’09) is the principal of Metacomet Elementary School in Bloomfield, CT. In 2010, Nesmith was honored as the recipient of the Neag School of Education’s Promising Young Professional Award. In the past year, Nesmith has served as a principal consultant for Cambridge Education, providing high quality service and collaborative efforts to improve student learning for teachers, administrators and districts.

Rebecca Stearns (M.A. in Kinesiology, Exercise Science, ’08 and currently enrolled in the Ph.D. program in Kinesiology, Exercise Science) is the director of education for the Korey Stringer Institute in the Neag School. From her education at UConn and her current position within Neag, Stearns has a unique insight to the  workings, accomplishments and opportunities the school has to offer. Stearns has served as an athletic training laboratory instructor, administrative graduate assistant and research graduate assistant for the university. She has also worked at the Marine Corps Marathon, the Boston Marathon and the Pennsylvania Special Olympics.

Jeremy Vigneault (B.S. in Pre-Physical Therapy  ’00; M.S. in Physical Therapy ’02) is a faculty member in the Department of Kinesiology at the Neag School and co-director of the Nayden Rehabilitation Clinic. Vigneault instructs physical therapy students in the clinic setting. With his primary focus in outpatient orthopedics, he also has experience in the assistive technology and home health fields.