Fall 2021 Faculty Appointments and New Hires at the Neag School 

This fall, the Neag School welcomes its incoming hires, congratulates existing faculty members on new appointments, and celebrates the first full academic year with its dean, Jason G. Irizarry, and his newly appointed leadership team.

Drone shot of UConn Wilbur Cross Building.

Dean’s Office

Dorothea Anagnostopoulos, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

Dorothea Anagnostopoulos, who is among the Neag School's latest faculty appointments.
Dorothea Anagnostopoulos, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

Dorothea Anagnostopoulos, associate professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, has been named the Neag School’s associate dean for academic affairs.

In this role, Anagnostopoulos will oversee and maintain high-quality academic programs across the Neag School while developing and leading the implementation of inclusive, equity-oriented community building, networking, and professional development programming for faculty. She also will be directing School-wide accreditation efforts and monitoring course enrollments.

Anagnostopoulos previously served as the Neag School’s executive director of teacher education from 2013 to 2019. She also is the vice president of the American Educational Research Association (AERA)’s Division K, Teaching and Teacher Education. A leading scholar on school reform, Anagnostopoulos holds a doctorate in education from the University of Chicago.

Morgaen Donaldson, Associate Dean for Research and Philip E. Austin Endowed Chair

Professor Morgaen Donaldson, director of the Center for Education Policy Analysis, Research, and Evaluation (CEPARE) and the Neag School’s Ed.D. program, has been appointed the Neag School’s associate dean for research.

As associate dean for research, she will work collaboratively with faculty and staff across the Neag School to develop and enact a plan to support research and the securing of grants, and will be responsible for developing initiatives to enhance the research climate and provide opportunities in the Neag School for faculty, staff, and students to expand their research skills, funding sources, and productivity. Donaldson also will serve as a resource and facilitator for Neag School faculty and staff who are considering writing grants, have operational questions concerning funded grants, or are encountering problems or difficulties with grant-related activities.

Morgaen Donaldson.
Morgaen Donaldson, Associate Dean for Research and Philip E. Austin Endowed Chair.

In addition, Donaldson has been named the Philip E. Austin Endowed Chair.

Her areas of expertise include educational leadership, teacher quality, educational policy, and education reform. Her research has centered on educator development, including educator performance evaluation, teaching and leadership quality, and school reform, with her work on teacher evaluation practices in particular having gained state and national attention. Her work is also closely connected to the work of policymakers affiliated with the Connecticut State Department of Education, superintendents, principals, and teachers within the state’s public schools.

Donaldson’s three-year appointment as the Austin Chair was approved by the UConn Board of Trustees this past spring. She completed her Ed.D. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Read more about Donaldson’s recently announced appointment to the Austin Chair.

Ann Traynor, assistant dean and certification officer.
Ann Traynor, assistant dean and certification officer.

Ann Traynor, Assistant Dean and Certification Officer

Also in the Dean’s Office, Ann Traynor has been appointed assistant dean and certification officer. She directs advising, educator certification, recruitment, retention, and career preparation at the Neag School of Education. Traynor is also a member of the University’s Advising Council and serves on the Neag School’s Assessment, Curricula and Courses, and Global Education Committees, as well as co-chair, Standard 3, for the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) Accreditation Self-Study. 

In 2011, the UConn Undergraduate Student Government recognized her with its Advisor of the Year Award. She holds an Ed.D. in educational leadership from the University of Connecticut.

Traynor had been serving as interim assistant dean since this past spring.

Department of Educational Leadership

Tiffany Brown, Assistant Professor

Tiffany Brown.
Assistant Professor Brown.

This fall, Tiffany Brown arrives at the Neag School to serve as an assistant professor of educational leadership. Brown is an organizational psychologist and education researcher with experience conducting quantitative and qualitative research in urban K-12 and higher education settings. She has more than a decade of experience working to improve urban education systems through direct community engagement, as well as developing and communicating complex, data-driven solutions into practical, usable knowledge for employees and leaders at work in school organizations. Prior to joining the faculty at UConn, Brown taught at the graduate and undergraduate levels in education leadership at Harvard, and in cultural psychology and organizational psychology at the City University of New York.

“My research applies an organizational psychology lens to the study of how teachers’ social cognition impacts their perception and decision-making at work,” says Brown, who completed her Ph.D. at Harvard University earlier this year. “I am particularly interested in how teachers respond to culturally complex challenges commonly faced by students from low-income and other minoritized cultural communities. The purpose of my research is to create tools for job analysis, job design, and competency modeling that are sensitive to the unique forms of knowledge, skills, and abilities teachers need to be successful while working with these students in under-resourced schools.”

Chen Chen, Assistant Professor

Chen Chen.
Assistant Professor Chen.

The Department of Educational Leadership also welcomes Chen Chen as an assistant professor of sport management, who arrives from the University of Alberta in Canada. Chen, whose research interests include critical sport management, settler colonialism and decolonization, and social, racial, and environmental justice, earned his Ph.D. from the University of Alberta in 2019 and completed a Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)-funded postdoctoral fellowship titled “Reimagining Sport from the Margins” at the same institution in 2021.

“I ground my teaching and research with an ethics of relational accountability, which emphasizes the consideration of historical, collective responsibility towards human and non-human communities of not only current but also future generations on this planet,” Chen says. “I am humbled to visit the land we know today as Connecticut (originated from the Algonquin word Quinnehtukqut that means ‘beside the long tidal river’) and I look forward to upholding my responsibility as a guest.”

“I am humbled to visit the land we know today as Connecticut ... and I look forward to upholding my responsibility as a guest.”

— Chen Chen, Assistant Professor

Alexandra Freidus, Assistant Professor

Alexandra Freidus.
Assistant Professor Freidus. (Credit: Clay Williams. © Clay Williams / claywilliamsphoto.com)

Alexandra Freidus joins the Department of Educational Leadership from Seton Hall University in New Jersey. Her research interests include school integration, youth organizing, and diverse classrooms.

“My scholarship asks what roles educators, policymakers, families, and young people play in sustaining and interrupting racialized patterns in K-12 schools,” Freidus says. “I use lenses from Critical Race Theory, cultural sociology, and the anthropology of education to unravel these relationships, examining how community stakeholders conceptualize student diversity, how school and district administrators enact educational policy, and how these local contexts relate to schools’ central work – teaching and learning.”

Freidus earned her Ph.D. in urban education in 2018 from New York University. She served previously for five years as a high school teacher in California, and also led professional development in urban schools in both California and New York.

“My scholarship asks what roles educators, policymakers, families, and young people play in sustaining and interrupting racialized patterns in K-12 schools.”

— Alexandra Freidus, Assistant Professor

NaRi Shin, Assistant Professor

NaRi Shin.
Assistant Professor Shin.

Assistant Professor NaRi Shin also joins the Neag School’s sport management program. She previously served at Texas Tech University, and her research interests include sport and development in relation to globalization and diaspora.

“The aim of my research,” Shin says, “is to enhance our critical understandings of how globalization, diaspora, and cultural interactions between and across continents changes the ways in which we manage sport and development, and impacts both development of sport and development through sport.”

Shin completed her doctorate in recreation, sport, and tourism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2019.

Department of Educational Psychology

Kylie Anglin, Assistant Professor

Arriving at the Department of Educational Psychology this fall is Kylie Anglin, who will serve as faculty in the Neag School’s Research Methods, Measurement, and Evaluation (RMME) program. Her research focuses on developing methods for efficiently monitoring program implementation using data science techniques.

“My goal as an educator is to teach students to think critically about modeling assumptions in real-life applications and to conduct high-quality reproducible research,” says Anglin, who earned her Ph.D. from the University of Virginia earlier this year. “I do this by having students work with real-world data and having them adopt the practices of professional software and research teams.”

Kylie Anglin.

“My goal as an educator is to teach students to think critically about modeling assumptions in real-life applications and to conduct high-quality reproducible research.”

— Kylie Anglin, Assistant Professor

Sara Renzulli, Assistant Professor-in-Residence

Sara Renzulli.
Assistant Professor-in-Residence Sara Renzulli.

Sara Renzulli ’11 MA, ’13 Ph.D., who has served for two years as an associate visiting professor in the Neag School, has been named assistant professor-in-residence in the Department of Educational Psychology’s counselor education and counseling psychology program. Her work will include creating and managing online courses and programs; teaching courses in counselor education and counseling psychology; advising graduate students; and supporting the CACREP accreditation process.

She also had previously served in numerous roles at the University of Connecticut, including as an academic advisor, adjunct faculty member, academic counselor, and university specialist at the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.