Accolades: Read About the News and Accomplishments from our Students, Alumni and Faculty/Staff

104516017-hands-clapping1-300x2001Below are news and notes from our alumni, faculty, staff, and students. We are proud of all the amazing accomplishments by our Neag family. If you have an accolade to share, we want to hear from you! Please send any news items (and story ideas) to


The Neag School has voted in the new Teacher Education Student Association (TESA) officers for the 2015 year! We would officially like to congratulate:

Madison Corlett – President
Kathryn Dooley – Treasurer
Cheyann Kelly – Secretary
Olivia Sherman – Event Coordinator


Vera Harsh ’80 is the external affairs officer for the Lyman Allyn Art Museum in New London, Conn. Vera joined Lyman Allyn with a wealth of experience, having spent the past 12 years working in development and fundraising. As a longtime southeastern Connecticut resident, she began her career at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Alumni Association as the assistant to the president and development associate. Later, as the director of development at New England Science and Sailing, she created the organization’s development department, including infrastructure, fundraising, marketing, and event planning.

The Irish Voice, a New York City-based newspaper that focuses on news from the Irish-American perspective, named Patrick J. Healy ’91, senior vice president for finance at Quinnipiac University, a top Irish educator.

Dr. Sandra Diana Ingä ’02 was inducted into the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame (CWHF) at the CWHF’s 21st Annual Induction Ceremony & Celebration, “Shaping Our World: Women in Design & Innovation,” in October. Ingä is the PK-12 STEM director for Hartford Public Schools and is a recognized STEM educator, leader, and mentor in the Hartford region. Ingä oversees the development and integration of science, technology, engineering, and math programs in 53 schools across the city. She served as co-chair of the design team for a K-8 STEM magnet school that has been recognized by the federal government as a Blue Ribbon school and has established the first Hartford STEM Conference as well as the district’s STEM Leadership Team to coordinate an integrated approach to science, math, and technology instruction. She has also presented at numerous local, state, and international STEM conferences. Additionally, she is responsible for the ongoing observation, evaluation, and professional development of STEM educators as well as the teacher-in-residence program.

Zato Kadambaya ’99, ’03 has been appointed interim assistant principal at New London (Conn.) High School. Kadambaya says, “This is a true testimony of the great program that the Neag School Education provides. I am very grateful.”

Sarah LaRose ’07, ’08 and Michael Kingsbury ’11, ’12 were recognized in November by the National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE) during the organization’s annual convention in Nashville. Sarah, an agricultural educator at Nonnewaug High School in Woodbury, Conn., was one of only six individuals nationwide to receive the NAAE’s Outstanding Young Member award. Michael, an agricultural educator at Middletown (Conn.) High School, was honored with the NAAE’s 2014 Teachers Turn the Key professional development scholarship.

Jeff Larson ’03, ’05, ’11 is the principal at CREC Public Safety Academy in Enfield, Conn. He previously served as an assistant principal at Hartford’s Classical Magnet School. Prior to that, Larson was a teacher, dean, athletic director, and coach. He was a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army, and he served in the Connecticut Army National Guard. Larson earned his bachelor’s, master’s, and sixth-year degrees from UConn.

Tim Shriver ’97, chairman of the Special Olympics, released his memoir Fully Alive: Discovering What Matters Most in November (Sarah Crichton Books, 2014). He was also featured on Oprah Winfrey’s “Super Soul Sunday” that same month. Shriver spent 15 years in public education as a high school teacher in New Haven, Conn., and as a counselor and teacher in UConn’s branch of the Upward Bound program for disadvantaged youth. He received his Ph.D. from the Neag School.

In memoriam:

Henry W. Beck Jr.  ’62
Ralph M. Clark Jr. ’71
Eugene E. Combs ’54
Phyllis M. Dixon ’60
William J. Dowd ’58
Suzanne V. Drake ’75
Pauline G. Dreher ’77
Ann Dublirer ’73
Marion M. Fischer ’59
Ashley C. Gray ’67
Kenneth G. Holt ’57
Jean M. Jubenville ’68
Marion H. Kerr ’33
John S. Kleszy ’57
Jessie M. Linicus ’52
Lawrence V. Marinaccio ’61
John J. McGrath ’63
Garry W. Milsop ’79
Myrtle L. Morse ’70
Diane F. Neff ’74
John J. Olha ’50
Carol A. Olson ’77
Rita Pierce Powers ’84
Douglas C. Seymour ’70
Janice S. Simpson ’78
Michael W. Sokol ’51
June C. Tanner ’58
Paul W. Temple ’72
Helen P. Thomas ’59
Maurice W. Villano ’73
Robert M. Watts ’51
Gwen Wexler ’51
Civita C. Wilcox ’59
Valerie Wintsch ’60
Marcella G. Vreeland ’63
Elizabeth B. Zakowicz ’90


UConn Mentor Connection has been approved for a $20,000 competitive grant to support the 2015 Summer Program by the Fairfield County’s Community Foundation.

The National Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports has been awarded a $787,000 supplement for 2014-15 to provide technical assistance for the National School Climate Transformation Grant initiative. Under the direction of George Sugai, the Center for Behavioral Education and Research will receive $330,000 to provide technical assistance to schools, districts, and state departments of education that are increasing capacity to improve school climate, academic achievement, school safety, and behavioral and mental health challenges. In addition, CBER has received a $100,000 subcontract from the Connecticut State Department of Education to support capacity-building efforts related to PBIS training and coaching. This work contributes to the development of a PBIS network of 10 Northeast states, led by CBER researchers.

The Connecticut K-3 Literacy Initiative (CK3LI) has been funded for a third year for $2,990,000. CK3LI is an ongoing partnership between the Center for Behavioral Education and Research (CBER) in Neag, the Connecticut State Department of Education, the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus in the Connecticut General Assembly, and the Connecticut Commission on Children. The goal of CK3LI is to work to close the reading achievement gap in Connecticut by supporting schools and districts in implementing effective reading practices in instruction, intervention, and assessment. A focus is to build leadership capacity as well as the school and district systems and structures necessary to implement and sustain a comprehensive, multitiered reading approach to meet the needs of all students.

Jae-Eun Joo has received a one-year research funding grant from the Connecticut State Department of Education to develop and evaluate a series of seven online modules about the Connecticut’s new Educator Evaluation System and Support Initiative. The Online Learning Modules Project aims to enhance the ability of Connecticut educators, both classroom teachers and school leaders, to develop high-quality student learning goals and objectives as well as to collect and analyze the student performance data to improve instructional and leadership practices. These seven online modules will be designed to promote inquiry-oriented and data-informed decision-making practices by applying research-proven adult learning and online learning theories to the module activities and deliverables.

James Kaufman will be speaking at the 37th Annual maaps Conference in Marlborough, Mass., in March. He will be presenting his new book, Teaching Creativity in the Common Core Classroom (Teachers College Press, 2014), alongside co-author and Associate Professor Ron Beghetto. In addition to this conference, he will speak at the 92Y Second Annual 7 Days of Genius: Venture into the Extraordinary. This festival is partnered with MSNBC and features world-class speakers and interactive online content.

Jonathan Plucker was listed on the 2015 American Enterprise Institution’s Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings, which recognizes 200 university-based scholars who shape public discussions on education. He is also leading a brand-new project funded by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation in which he and his team will help the Foundation create state-by-state profiles on the levels of support for gifted students, especially those who have been underserved.

Xaé Alicia Reyes was invited to Chile to hold a seminar at Andrés Bello University.

Sarah Woulfin presented at the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Cultures and Institutions Colloquium in November 2014. She discussed Catalysts of Change: How coaches frame a district reading reform. She also facilitated a professional development session for Windsor (Conn.) Public School administrators on observing literacy instruction.