The Neag School of Education and its Alumni Board are delighted to announce the 2023 Neag School Alumni Awards honorees. Eight outstanding graduates will be formally recognized at the Neag School’s 25th Annual Alumni Awards Celebration on Saturday, March 11.
Outstanding School Educator – Kristen N. Negrón ’12 (CLAS), ’15 MA
A graduate of Neag School’s Counselor Education program, Kristen Negrón recently joined Connecticut RISE Network where she is a freshman success coach working with core network schools on closing educational and achievement gaps for ninth grade students. She previously served as the school counselor and on-track coordinator for Middletown High School in Middletown, Connecticut. She is fluent in Spanish and has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and a minor in Latino studies from the University of Connecticut. In her prior role at Middletown High School, Negrón worked with an identified population of at-risk freshmen to ensure they were on track throughout the school year and provided necessary support. In addition, she was a co-advisor for the Middletown Minority Student Coalition (MSC), where she sought to empower minority students of various backgrounds within the school to create an environment that offers freedom of expression. Negrón co-authored a chapter in Neag School Dean Jason G. Irizarry’s book “Diaspora Studies in Education: Toward a Framework for Understanding the Experiences of Transnational Communities.”
Outstanding Professional – Margery H. Daniels ’71 (ED)
Margery Daniels has served for the past 15 years as the executive director of Massachusetts Partnerships for Youth in Wakefield, Massachusetts. In that role, Daniels is responsible for managing a nonprofit organization’s programmatic and fiscal operations, providing more than 250 school districts and community agencies with professional development activities in the areas of mental and behavioral health, social and emotional learning, and anti-racism. She previously served as the assistant superintendent for pupil services for Newton Public Schools, director of special services for Lynnfield Public Schools, and director of special education for Georgetown Public Schools, all in Massachusetts. Daniels also is an adjunct professor in the C. Louis Cedrone International Education Center for Framingham State University. She began her education career in 1971, as a Title 1 teacher in Lawrence, Massachusetts. In addition to educational licenses in Massachusetts, Daniels is a licensed independent clinical social worker (LICSW) and had a private practice serving individuals and families for more than 25 years.
Outstanding Early Career Professional – Andrew Alexi Almazán Anaya ’18 MA
Andrew Alexi Almazán Anaya is the director of the department of psychology and coordinator of the project research unit of the Talent Attention Center in Mexico City. He also serves as a professor of the Intellectual Enhancement Program for the Mexican School of Gifted Students. Almazan has a Master of Arts in educational psychology from the Neag School of Education. He has published numerous articles on gifted education and is a frequent speaker on the topic throughout the world. In 2021, he was recognized by the World Council for Gifted and Talented with the 2021 Emerging Leader in Gifted Education award, and Harvard University recognized him in 2020 with the Harvard Derek Bok Award for Public Service. Other notable awards include Mexico’s National Prize of Psychology from the Mexican Federation of Psychology and the Extraordinary Award of Research from Universidad Panamericana.
Outstanding School Administrator – Emily B. Gomes ’06 (ED), ’07 MA
Emily Gomes has served since 2019 as principal of Ivy Drive Elementary School in Bristol, Connecticut. Ivy Drive was identified as a School of Distinction this year. This honor comes following the release of the Connecticut State Department of Education New General Accountability data from 2021-2022 in which Ivy Drive was highlighted for high academic growth and improvement in student achievement and performance. She works tirelessly and relentlessly to ensure her building meets expectations for rigorous and highly effective instruction in all content areas. She’s the sole administrator of the Pre-K-5 elementary school of 400 students and 70 staff members and runs the climate/culture, equity, and school leadership teams. Gomes previously served as Bristol Eastern High School’s assistant principal, overseeing a school with 1,200 students and 150 staff members. In addition to her leadership responsibilities at Ivy Drive Elementary, Gomes was instrumental in writing and managing a 21st Century Learning Grant which provided her school $150,000 a year to host a no-cost extension to the school day for students in grades K-3. Gomes also served as an active member of the district’s climate and equity team and was recognized in 2021 with a Bristol Public Schools Staff Achievement Award.
Outstanding School Superintendent – Joseph P. Macary ’94 (CLAS), ’05 ELP, ’16 Ed.D.
A graduate of the Neag School’s doctorate (Ed.D.) in educational leadership and Executive Leadership Program (ELP) for superintendency, Joseph Macary has served as the superintendent for Vernon Public Schools in Vernon, Connecticut, since 2015. In his superintendent role, Macary serves as the chief executive officer, advocating for students’ academic, social, and emotional growth and development while focusing on student learning and achievement. Some of the district’s specific accomplishments under his leadership include: Rockville High School named to the 10th Annual Advanced Placement (AP) District Honor Roll, one of 250 schools in the U.S. and Canada to receive this honor; 89% of Rockville High School graduates going on to further their education at institutes of higher learning; and the Vernon Public School District awarded a $1 million grant for family and community engagement by the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. In addition, Macary is an active member of the professional education community and has served as a mentor for the Neag School’s ELP program and as president of the Hartford County Superintendent Association, among other positions. He was previously recognized as “Educator of the Year” by the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Waterbury and was selected for three consecutive years for the “Who’s Who Among America’s High School Teachers” list.
Outstanding Higher Education Professional – Raymond L. Pecheone ’78 Ph.D.
Raymond Pecheone has served since 2009 as the executive director of the Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity (SCALE) at Stanford University, where he works with schools, districts, states, and federal agencies to develop performance assessments for teachers, administrators, and students. At SCALE, he also supports a network of states working to create curriculum-embedded performance assessment tools and policies that leverage inquiry-based pedagogies and instructional improvement in teaching and performance assessments in English Language Arts, math, and science. Pecheone has published numerous articles and technical reports and is a frequent presenter at educational conferences across the U.S. and abroad. In addition, he has a long history of serving on advisory boards, including with the Global Educational Community, Buck Institute, and Oracle Education Foundation. Pecheone has secured grants with notable organizations such as the Hewlett Foundation, Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation, and George Lucas Foundation, among many others. His colleagues know him as an innovator who has contributed enormously to the capacity of schools and universities to assess learning and performance in authentic ways.
Outstanding Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Professional – Roszena L. Haskins ’17 Ed.D.
As West Hartford (Connecticut) Public Schools’ executive director of equity advancement for the past 12 years, Roszena Haskins leads, monitors, and evaluates district-wide equity, diversity, and inclusion programs; policy development; professional development; practice; and conditions concerning 9,500 students, families, and over 1,000 staff members. Haskins was also recently appointed to the same role for the Town of West Hartford, serving 65,000 residents and over 200 town employees. A graduate of the Neag School of Education’s Ed.D. program, she has been recognized with numerous accolades, including State Education Resource Center’s Excellence in Equity Award, West Hartford “Hometown Hero,” and 100 Women of Color for Connecticut. She previously served in administration leadership roles for schools in West Hartford and began her education career as a special education teacher in Hamden, Connecticut. One of her most notable accomplishments was co-creating a high-tech multimedia exhibit focusing on West Hartford residents’ personal stories, funded by a $50,000 Inspiring Equity Grant from the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund.
Distinguished Alumnus – Richard L. Schwab ’79 MA, ’81 Ph.D.
A two-time Neag School alumnus, Richard Schwab had an exceptional 25-year career at the Neag School that included two stints as dean. He is recognized as the longest-serving dean in the history of the Neag School and the only UConn alum to hold that position. During his 14 years as dean, Schwab worked with faculty to craft and implement two strategic plans to raise the quality of programs, research, and scholarship while moving the Neag School toward its goal of becoming one of the top education schools in the country. The effort sparked the interest of Ray Neag, a UConn alum and successful entrepreneur, who decided to make what he called a “strategic investment” in the Neag School and public education. His $21 million gift in 1999 was, at the time, the largest any school of education had ever received. Schwab raised an additional $25 million for the Neag School, including the prestigious $5 million Teachers for a New Era grant from the Carnegie Corporation. Other accomplishments include taking the Neag School from unranked in 1997 to No. 21 in 2012 on U.S. News & World Report’s best education graduate school rankings; establishing a Neag School of Education Alumni Society; constructing a new addition and renovating the Gentry Building with a $22 million grant from the UConn 2000 initiative; and creating new programs in all the regional campuses of the University.