Neag School Accolades – February 2017

Congratulations to our Neag School alumni, faculty, staff, and students on their continued accomplishments inside and outside the classroom. If you have an accolade to share, we want to hear from you! Please send any news items and story ideas to

In addition to the Dean’s Office and Department achievements, explore this edition’s list of Accolades for the following: Faculty/StaffAlumniStudents, as well as In Memoriam.

Dean’s Office and Departments

Robert Run Participants
The Neag School hosted a School-wide walk/run in December to honor the life of the late Robert Colbert. (Ryan Glista/Neag School)

The Neag School hosted a School-wide walk/run dubbed the Robert Run in honor of the Robert Colbert, an associate professor who passed away in August. Faculty, staff, students, and Colbert family members participated in the event on the UConn Storrs campus in December, raising $6,779 for scholarship support. See photos from the event. You may contribute to the fund in Colbert’s honor here.

The Neag School was a sponsor for the university’s 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Day observance event, held at the Jorgensen Center for Performing Arts in January.

Del Siegle was named associate dean for research and faculty affairs for the Neag School. In this role, Siegle will serve as the dean’s designee on all matters related to research and faculty affairs and will work collaboratively with departments, programs, faculty, professional staff, and others on a range of responsibilities. Read more about his appointment.


Department of Curriculum and Instruction (EDCI) and Teacher Education

Teacher Education, in conjunction with the UConn Stamford campus and Stamford Public Schools, launched a pilot partnership in which 20 current Neag students got firsthand experience in various capacities over the winter break.

The Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, in conjunction with Neag School’s Glenn Mitoma, hosted a daylong summit in December during which 150 high school students from across Connecticut presented research and attended sessions on a variety of human rights topics at the UConn Storrs campus. This Connecticut Human Rights and Youth Action Summit was organized by two Neag School alums — Abigail Esposito ’14 (CLAS, ED), ’15 MA and Jake Skrzypiec ’13 (CLAS, ED), ’14 MA from Manchester (Conn.) High School. View photos from the event.

Mark Kohan, in conjunction with Glenn Mitoma and the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center and multiple UConn partners, worked with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center to bring an interactive exhibit to Storrs focused on implicit bias. Read more about the exhibit, which will be housed at the Homer Babbidge Library through Feb. 28, or view this video, featuring Kohan talking about the exhibit and its purpose.


Department of Educational Leadership (EDLR)

Miguel Cardona gives welcoming remarks on the first day of the UPPI project.
Miguel Cardona ’01 MA, ’04 6th Year, ’11 Ed.D. took part in recent meetings to kick off the University Principal Preparation Initiative. (Ryan Glista/Neag School)

Educational Leadership officially launched the University Principal Preparation Initiative (UPPI), a project supported by the Wallace Foundation, with two daylong meetings at the Storrs campus in January. Sarah Barzee, chief talent officer at the Connecticut State Department of Education, and Miguel Cardona ’01 MA, 04 6th Year, 11 Ed.D., assistant superintendent for teaching and learning for Meriden (Conn.) Public Schools, delivered short talks on the first day of meetings. A team from the University of Illinois-Chicago attended to participate in and facilitate the work.

Students in the Executive Leadership Program participated in a special workshop featuring Joseph Erardi, superintendent in Newtown, Conn., and the CAPSS 2017 Superintendent of the Year, and Elizabeth Feser, superintendent in Milford, Conn., at Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS) in West Hartford, Conn., in November. Both Erardi and Feser currently serve as Executive Leadership Program mentors.

The Higher Education and Student Affairs Program (HESA) hosted an art exhibit in the Student Union on Dec. 12, 2016. (Photo credit: Ryan Glista/Neag)
The Higher Education and Student Affairs Program (HESA) hosted an art exhibit in the Student Union in December. (Ryan Glista/Neag School)

Students from the Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) program participated in a culminating project for their course “Structured Dialogues in Student Affairs,” which included presenting an art gallery walk on allyship in the UConn Student Union Art Gallery in December.


Department of Educational Psychology (EPSY)

The Center for Behavioral Education and Research (CBER) sponsored a graduate assistant workshop titled “Developing a Strong CV” in the Gentry Building in December, featuring instruction by Lisa Sanetti and Suzanne Wilson.

The Connecticut K-3 Literacy Initiative (CK3LI) will be featured as part of a literacy forum at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford on Feb. 9. The Black and Puerto Rican Caucus; Commission on Women, Children, and Seniors; and Commission on Equity and Opportunity will jointly host a presentation on the status of CK3LI’s work.

The Neag School’s master of arts degree program in counseling received accreditation this January from the board of directors of the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) through October of 2023.

Scott Brown has been named head of the Department of Educational Psychology at the Neag School. He takes over these duties following the recent appointment of Professor Del Siegle as Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Affairs of the Neag School.



Outstandng Support (Beghetto) webRonald Beghetto was recognized in December by the members of the UConn Marching Band with an “Outstanding Support” award for “being a shining example of professionalism and Husky Pride.” Four of his students notified him of this recognition and presented the certificate to him in class.

Scott Brown and alum Kimberly Lawless ’94 MA, ’96 Ph.D. provided a demo of GlobalEd 2 at the 4th Annual Ed Games Expo in Washington, D.C., in December.

Laura Burton and Jennifer McGarry, along with other colleagues, have published “Validation of the Professional Identity and Values Scale among Athletic Trainers in the College Practice Setting” in the Journal of Athletic Training.

Tutita Casa hosted a professional development opportunity on campus in November for her IB/M students, featuring Sarah Powell, assistant professor of special education at University of Texas at Austin, who spoke about connections between special and regular education approaches to teaching and learning mathematics during a talk titled “Mathematics Instruction for Students With Learning Difficulties.” EPSY, EDCI, and Teacher Education all provided financial support for the event.

Milagros Castillo-Montoya has been invited to serve as a member of the program committee for Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) 2017 Conference, with the conference theme of “Power to the People.”

Nellie Mae Education Foundation logoThe Nellie Mae Education Foundation (NMEF) has awarded Casey Cobb, Kimberly LeChasseur, and Erica Fernández a grant of $199,795 in support of a project titled “Evaluation of the League of Innovative Schools and Student-Centered Learning Approaches,” for which Cobb is serving as principal investigator. The League of Innovative Schools (LIS) is a professional learning community in which 110 schools of all types across five New England states are members, exploring how to use student-centered learning to create more equitable learning environments and outcomes while improving students’ postsecondary success. With NMEF seeking to gain a better understanding of the implementation and ultimate outcomes of the LIS, the three-part evaluation project will include a qualitative process study focused on schools’ motivation for participating in LIS; an implementation study assessing proficiency-based graduation decisions, personalized learning pathways, and student-centered accountability systems, as well as student-centered learning practices; and an outcome study focused on LIS’ impact on college and career readiness in LIS schools. According to LeChasseur, who spearheaded the grant effort, the evaluation is expected to yield unique knowledge that ultimately “will help educators — and those who support them — to move beyond one-size-fits-all best practices to think about the many moving parts of educational systems.” Launched in January, the project will run through June 2018. 

Cathy Cocks, a current HESA-affiliated faculty member, has been elected president of the Association for Student Conduct Administration (ASCA).

Michael Coyne co-published “Delving into the Details: Implementing Multi-tiered K–3 Reading Supports in High-Priority Schools” in New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development in December with doctoral student Kaitlin Leonard and other colleagues. He also presentedTesting & Replicating the Efficacy of a Supplemental Kindergarten Vocabulary Intervention Implemented Within a Tiered Instructional Framework” at the annual Institute of Education Science Principal Investigator’s Meeting in Washington, D.C., in December.

Shaun Dougherty presented at the Association for Career & Technical Education (ACTE)’s 2016 CareerTech Vision Conference, held in Las Vegas in December.

Shaun Dougherty and Allison Lombardi co-publishedFrom Vocational Education to Career Readiness: The Ongoing Work of Linking Education and the Labor Market” in the centennial volume of Review of Research in Education.

Justin Evanovich and Jennifer McGarry, along with other colleagues, co-published “Action Research in a Campus-Community Partnership: Lessons Learned” for Research Methods Cases.

Adam Feinberg co-published “Research Brief: Implementing a Tier 2 Behavioral Intervention in an Alternative High School Program” in Preventing School Failure in November. 

Michele Femc-Bagwell and Mallory Bagwell 05 Ph.D. published a chapter titled “Collaborating With Families to Support Gifted Students” in Designing Services and Programs for High-Ability Learners: A Guide Book for Gifted Education (Corwin), the second edition of a volume co-edited by Rebecca Eckert.

Michele Femc-Bagwell and Erica Fernández presented their photo-ethographic study “It Was a Life-Threatening Problem: Critical Moments Experienced by Parents and Their (re)Framing of Parental Engagement” at the UCEA Convention in Detroit in November.

Erik Hines co-authored an article titled “Preparing Latino Students for Life After High School: The Important Role of School Counselors and School Psychologists” in the National Youth-At-Risk Journal.

Program from 40th Annual Statewide Conference for Teachers Serving Linguistically and Culturally Diverse Students
Elizabeth Howard presented at the 40th Annual Statewide Conference for Teachers Serving Linguistically and Culturally Diverse Students in Chicago in December.

Elizabeth Howard presented at the 40th Annual Statewide Conference for Teachers Serving Linguistically and Culturally Diverse Students in Chicago in December.

Jason Irizarry will serve as a plenary speaker at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education’s 38th Ethnography in Education Research Forum on Feb. 24 in Philadelphia. His talk is titled “Mapping Inequality and Charting a Way Forward: Constructing Ethnographies of Urban Schooling with Latinx Youth.” In addition, Irizarry’s book The Latinization of U.S. Schools: Successful Teaching and Learning in Shifting Cultural Contexts (Routledge, 2011), has been selected by the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Urban Education as one of 15 “must read” books in the field of urban education.

James Kaufman has received the 2017 Rudolf Arnheim Award for Outstanding Achievement in Psychology and the Arts from Division 10 of the American Psychological Association. The award is named in honor of Rudolf Arnheim, who served as Division 10 president three times.

Dean Gladis Kersaint’s article “100 Questions That Help Promote Mathematical Discourse,” which addresses core mathematical areas with students and promotes mathematical thinking and discourse in the classroom, was one of Getting Smart’s top 10 most-read guest posts in 2016.

Richard Kisiel, an adjunct faculty member in educational leadership, was recently appointed senior associate and director of professional learning for the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS). 

Tamika La Salle was named to the Cultural Competence Workgroup for the Connecticut State Department of Education, which recently recorded a podcast being disseminated statewide. She is also serving on the Connecticut State Department of Education’s Review Committee, a 12-person committee consisting of representatives from Connecticut K-12 schools and communities, which reviews evaluation findings from program approval visits and makes recommendations to the commissioner of education regarding new and continuing program approval. She also presented at the Alliance District Symposium on Creating Culturally Responsive Systems, hosted by the Connecticut Department of Education in January. In addition, La Salle recently received a $10,000 grant from the International Awards Program of the Society for the Study of School Psychology for her study titled “Cross Cultural School Climate Study,” for which she is serving as co-principal investigator with Orlean Brown Earle of Northern Caribbean University. Six other countries — Malta, Belgium, Japan, Hungary, Latvia, and Greece — are collaborating on the project.

Tamika La Salle
Tamika La Salle, second from left, presented a the Alliance District Symposium on Creating Culturally Responsive Systems in January. (Photo courtesy of Tamika La Salle)

Donald Leu provided a video and description of ORCA (Online Reading Comprehension Assessments) for a White House meeting on the Future of Assessment in December in Washington, D.C. The meeting was organized by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Department of Education.

Allison Lombardi co-published “Inclusive Instruction: Perceptions of Community College Faculty and Students Pertaining to Universal Design” in the Winter 2016 issue of the Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability. Lombardi also co-published two articles in Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals — one article titled “A Preliminary Psychometric Analysis of a Measure of Information Technology Literacy Skill” with graduate student Graham G. Rifenbark and other colleagues, and a second article titled “The Impact of an Online Transition Curriculum on Secondary Student Reading: A Multilevel Examination” with Rifenbark as well as current graduate student Jessica Monahan and alum Nicholas Gelbar ’06 (ED), ’07 MA, ’13 Ph.D.

Bianca Montrosse-Moorhead helped organize and gave an opening plenary talk in a groundbreaking event in December, the first online evaluation conference to be broadcast worldwide and in multiple languages simultaneously. More than 600 evaluators from across the globe participated in the free event, a coordinated effort to address the shortage of qualified, well-trained evaluators.

Blanca Rincón presented “Thriving in Doctoral Education” at the 41st Annual Conference of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) in Columbus, Ohio, in November.

Brandi Simonsen and Jennifer Freeman co-published, with others, “Effects of Targeted Professional Development on Teachers’ Specific Praise Rates” in the January issue of Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions. They also presented “Classroom PBIS: Discussion of Outcomes, Data, Practices, and Systems” at PBIS National Implementer’s Forum in Rosemont, Ill., in October along with “Systems to Support Teachers’ Implementation of PBIS in the Classroom” at the same forum.

George Sugai, Brandi Simonsen, Jennifer Freeman, and Tamika La Salle co-published “Capacity Development and Multi-tiered Systems of Support: Guiding Principles” in the Australasian Journal of Special Education in December.

George Sugai gave keynote addressesClimate Warming: MTSS, PBIS, ESSA” and “Getting Started with PBIS” at the Maine PBIS Conference in November. He also gave keynotes “Understanding and Responding to Aggressive Behavior” and “Effective Use of Positive Reinforcement” at the Dutch PBIS Conference in Amsterdam in November.

Robert Villanova was invited to participate in two recent Connecticut State Department of Education events focused on the challenges of school district governance: In October, the Nellie Mae Foundation sponsored a forum on school district governance at the State Capitol; in December, Achieve Hartford! sponsored a forum on governance issues with a focus on the Hartford Public Schools.

Jennie Weiner co-published “Where the Two Shall Meet: Exploring the Relationship Between Teacher Professional Culture and Student Learning Culture” in the December issue of the Journal of Educational Change.

Jennie Weiner and Laura Burton co-presented “Intersecting Identities: Experiences of Female School Leaders” at the 2016 University Council of Educational Administration Convention in Detroit in November.

Jennie Weiner, Morgaen Donaldson, and Shaun Dougherty co-published “Missing the Boat – Impact of Just Missing Identification as a High-Performing School” in the January 2017 issue of Leadership and Policy in Schools.



Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) hosted a “Conversation with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion” in December for all HESA students to come together across cohorts to engage in small-group conversation with members of the Office to learn more about its initiatives.

The student organization UConn Sport Business Association hosted its first annual UConn Sport Management Conference in January, with more than 100 students attending the daylong conference. View photos from the event. Joseph Cooper, Justin Evanovich, and Laura Burton served as panelists.

Emily Armstrong ’17 (ED), an elementary education student, is goalkeeper for the UConn women’s soccer team, which earned the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Women’s Scholar All-America Second Team title for 2016.

Kursten Butler and Emily Tarconish, both graduate students in educational psychology, have been named the recipients of the Neag School Alumni Board Scholarship for the 2017-18 academic year. They will be honored at the Annual Alumni Awards Celebration on March 18.

Adam Lalor
Adam Lalor ’17 Ph.D. defended his dissertation “Identification of Disability-Related Competencies for Student Affairs Generalists: A Delphi Study” in December.

Adam Lalor 17 Ph.D. successfully defended his dissertation “Identification of Disability-Related Competencies for Student Affairs Generalists: A Delphi Study” on the Storrs campus in December.

Jacqueline Ose ’18 (ED), a current Neag School student with a concentration a secondary biology education, is one of 22 undergraduate students at UConn to be awarded a UConn IDEA Grant. The grant program awards funding in support of self-designed projects, including artistic endeavors, community service initiatives, traditional research, and other innovative projects. Ose will study will evaluate the effects of Advanced Placement incentive programs instilled in Connecticut high schools to understand the impact this monetary program has had on students, teachers, and schools. The title of her project is “Effect of Advanced Placement Incentive Programs in Connecticut High Schools.”

Garret Zastoupil 17 MA recently co-authored an article with Jennifer McGarry, Justin Evanovich, and others titled “Strategic Integration of Faculty Researcher Roles: Valuable Lessons From Participant Action Research as Part of Service Learning Courses Impacting Students and Social Changein Sage Publications.



The Neag School announces the six recipients of 2017 Alumni Awards:

Jennifer (Conley) Burnett ’02 (ED), ’03 MA
Jennifer (Conley) Burnett ’02 (ED), ’03 MA was chosen as a Polk County, Fla., Teacher of the Year finalist for 2017.
  • Shamim S. Patwa ’97 MA, ’00 6th Year, ’03 Ph.D.
  • Carter Welch ’99 (ED), ’11 Ed.D., ’12 ELP
  • Alan Addley ’07 ELP, ’14 Ed.D.
  • Alan Kraut ’73 (ED)
  • Maria D. Martinez ’83 MSW, ’96 Ph.D.
  • Melvyn L. Reich ’69 Ph.D.

Read the full Alumni Awards story here — and register online to attend the celebration on March 18.

Alison Burdick 00 (ED), 01 MA, 15 Ed.D, was recently recognized as a “40 Under 40” honoree by Connecticut Magazine. Burdick is the principal of Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School in New London, Conn., where she has served since 2011.

Jennifer (Conley) Burnett ’02 (ED), ’03 MA was chosen as a Polk County, Fla., Teacher of the Year finalist for 2017.


Tracey-Ann Lafayette 15 (ED), 16 MA, a fourth-grade teacher at Robert J. O’Brien STEM Academy in East Hartford, Conn., shares why she pursued a teaching career and what she is learning about the impact she is making on her students in a new “Why I Teach” video.

Lori A. Mulligan ’91 (ED) has been named summer school coordinator for Greenwich Public Schools.

Bertil C. Nelson 75 Ph.D. has published a novel, MADDOC, available on Amazon.

Pix Kaitline Rog DeBellisKaitlin Roig DeBellis 05 (ED), 06 MA, founder of nonprofit Classes 4 Classes and former Sandy Hook teacher, was recently on campus speaking to 42 elementary students from Doug Kaufman’s class, sharing firsthand insights as students prepare to enter student teaching at the end of January.

Laurie Scursso 91 (ED), a math teacher at West Side Middle School in Waterbury, Conn., set up a fundraising campaign to help with funeral expenses when one of her students, Jahliek Dieudonne, was tragically killed. She also helped Dieudonne’s family get a posthumous high school diploma.

Bagwell alumpanel webA group of Neag School alumni returned to campus in December to participate with Michele Femc-Bagwell’s Integrated Bachelor’s/Master’s (IB/M) Teacher Leadership class. Panelists included alumni Heather Grove, Kaitlin Murphy, Dan Bronko, Erin Holden, and Melissa Scarbrough of the Classes of 2015 and 2016; and Jeremy Crouse ’13 (ED), ’14 MA.

Sport management alumni attended the Frozen Four pre-game event in January in Boston. View the Facebook photo album.


In Memoriam

Alexinia Baldwin, professor emerita of curriculum and instruction, died Jan. 21, 2017. (Photo Credit: Shannon McAvoy)

Anthony C. Acampora ’64
Frederick W. Adams ’70
Alexinia Baldwin ’71
Margaret M. Cullen ’58
Catherine E. Foley ’65
Clorinda Graziano ’78
Kathleen S. Haigh ’73
Wilma H. Hasse ’47
Russell E. Jack ’63
Nancy C. Johnston ’52
Earnest D. Judd ’56
Melvin A. Kleckner ’54
Alice M. MacMullen ’61
Patricia A. Moody ’75
John J. Powell ’54
Cheryl B. Samborski ’70
Raol W. Wolf ’56