Neag School Announces Recipients of 2019 Alumni Awards

Alumni Awards Celebration 2019 image

The Neag School of Education and its Alumni Board are proud to announce the 2019 Neag School Alumni Awards honorees. Seven outstanding Neag School graduates will be formally recognized at the School’s 21st annual Alumni Awards Celebration on Saturday, March 16, 2019:

Outstanding Early Career Professional — Victoria M. Schilling 16 (ED), ’17 MA

Victoria Schilling serves as an eighth-grade teacher at Ellington (Conn.) Middle School, where she has designed and implemented next-generation science standards units of instruction, and also serves as the cheerleading coach. She is a member of the UConn Mentor Teacher Collaborative Professional Learning Network, through which she has co-published multiple articles and presented at national and regional conferences. After graduation, Schilling also worked for the Neag School of Education, where she led a middle school curriculum development project focused on the Carl and Marian Rettenmeyer Army Ant Guest Collection and funded by the National Science Foundation.

Outstanding School Educator — Deidra Fogarty 05 (ED), ’06 MA

An educator for more than 12 years, Deidra Fogarty currently serves as a special educator for the Knowledge Is Power Program’s Spring Academy in Washington, D.C., where she has increased student reading capacities, established individualized education program goals, and worked to ensure compliance with special education reporting deadlines. She is the founder of Black Girls Teach, a collaborative platform she created to empower black women educators. In addition, she co-founded WAM! Book Bundle, a monthly subscription service for diverse children’s books.

Outstanding School Administrator — Maureen F. Ruby 77 (CLAS), 78 MS (ENG), 82 DMD, 07 Ph.D.

Maureen Ruby is assistant superintendent of Brookfield (Conn.) Public Schools, where she oversees school and district improvement plans, along with curriculum, instruction, assessment, and human resources. In her education career, she has been instrumental in securing and managing more than $8 million in grants including a five-year federal School Improvement Grant (SIG) for Brookfield High School, and also served as project director and co-principal investigator for a $3.9 million U.S. Department of Education literacy grant. Ruby has held previous administrator positions for school districts in Connecticut as well as faculty positions at UConn and other universities. Prior to her education career, Ruby was a dentist serving as an officer in the U.S. Public Health Service and in private practice.

Outstanding School Superintendent — Craig A. Cooke 01 6th Year, ’07 Ph.D., ’08 ELP

For the past five years, Craig Cooke has served as superintendent of Windsor (Conn.) Public Schools, where he is responsible for managing the school district, including overseeing a $69 million budget. Prior to that role, he served as the assistant superintendent of human resources for the district of more than 650 educators and support staff. Cooke also previously served as the human resources director for Enfield (Conn.) Public Schools.

Outstanding Professional — Rachel R. McAnallen 10 Ph.D.

Known as “Ms. Math” to children across the country, Rachel McAnallen has devoted her life to sharing the joy of mathematics with learners of all ages.  A professional educator for more than 60 years, she travels the globe teaching her love of mathematics at every grade level. In addition to her experience in the classroom, McAnallen has served as a department chair, a school board member, and a high school administrator. A lifelong learner, McAnallen received her Ph.D. from the Neag School at age 75.

Outstanding Higher Education Professional — D. Betsy McCoach 01 MA, ’02 6th Year, ’03 Ph.D.

A faculty member at the Neag School in educational psychology for over 15 years, Betsy McCoach also directs the Data Analysis Training Institute of Connecticut (DATIC) and the Modern Modeling Methods (M3) Conference, both of which bring international experts to UConn. She is the current co-principal investigator of a $3 million National Science Foundation grant on the science of learning and the National Center for Research on Gifted Education, funded by a $5 million grant through the Institute for Education Sciences. McCoach is an established scholar, having authored or co-authored nearly 100 peer-reviewed journal articles, dozens of book chapters, and four books.

Distinguished Alumna Award — Carla S. Klein 72 (ED)  

A retired schoolteacher, Carla Klein has dedicated herself to supporting numerous educational endeavors through scholarships and service over the years, including as an emeritus UConn Foundation Board member. She and her late husband, John, former president and CEO of People’s United Bank, had been active in raising awareness and funding for various education causes, including support for school programs across the state focused on anti-bullying. A member of the Bridgeport Public Education Fund board of directors, she also was previously co-chair of Operation Respect Connecticut and spent a year serving on the Connecticut Commission on Educational Achievement, making recommendations — many of which were ultimately adopted by Gov. Dannel Malloy — on issues related to closing the achievement gap. Most recently, the Klein Family Foundation — run by Klein, along with her children — has instituted the Klein Family Scholarship Fund at the Neag School, which provides financial support to several teacher education students with demonstrated financial need and academic achievement.

The 21st Annual Neag School Alumni Awards Celebration begins at 5 p.m. on March 16, 2019. Attire is business formal. No-host bar. The cost of the dinner is $50 per person. Join us for the celebration. Register online at

Questions? Contact Caitlin Trinh, Neag School alumni relations director, at 860.486.2240 or