Neag School Alumni Board Announces the 2024 Alumni Award Winners

Eight outstanding graduates will be formally recognized at the Neag School’s 26th Annual Alumni Awards Celebration on March 9.

Jonathan with Neag School alumni awards

The Neag School of Education and its Alumni Board are delighted to announce the 2024 Neag School Alumni Awards honorees. (Angelina Reyes/UConn Photo)

The UConn Neag School of Education and its Alumni Board are delighted to announce the 2024 Neag School Alumni Awards honorees. Eight outstanding graduates will be formally recognized at the Neag School’s 26th Annual Alumni Awards Celebration on Saturday, March 9.

Outstanding School Educator – Amber Dickey  ’16 (CLAS), ’16 (ED), ’17 MA

Amber Dickey
(Submitted Photo)

A graduate of the Neag School’s foreign language education master’s program, Amber Dickey is a Spanish teacher at East Hartford High School (EHHS), where she was recognized as Teacher of the Month in 2021. In this role, she proposed, developed, and piloted the first Heritage Spanish two-year course sequence. She also modifies and enhances curricula monthly in response to student strengths and collaborates with other Heritage Spanish teachers to ensure vertical alignment of course and linguistic expectations for growth. At EHHS, Dickey is a data team leader and leads meetings for all secondary World Language teachers in the district. While balancing the mentoring of new teachers in the department, she’s also an EHHS study abroad liaison for Costa Rican Resources; an advisor for the junior class and the ASL Club; and an assistant coach for the cross-country team. Dickey will be a primary presenter at a University of Wisconsin online webinar for K-16 educators, is a teacher fellow for the UConn Human Rights Close to Home initiative, and is a published author for “Teacher’s Discovery.”

Outstanding Professional – Kathleen “Kate” England ’85 (ED), ’94 MA, ’13 ELP

Kate England
(Submitted photo)

For the past five years, Kate England has served as a partnership manager for Insight Education Group in Encino, California. In this role, she partners with school district leaders to provide targeted support on strategic planning and educator effectiveness. Key deliverables include district reform, strategic plan development, executive coaching, and equity audits. Before that, she was the chief of academic, teaching, learning, and student supports for Hartford Public Schools, where she oversaw the work of multiple departments for 21,000 students and 47 schools. England facilitated the implementation of effective teaching, learning, and assessment within the district theory of action; directed and supported curriculum, instruction, and support services and assessments to meet students’ needs; developed and maintained partnerships with critical stakeholders; and numerous additional executive assignments. She’s held district and school leadership positions throughout Connecticut, including with Norwich, Manchester, and Windham Public Schools. England’s education career began as an elementary grade teacher and Reading Recovery teacher leader in Connecticut. In addition, she was honored with the Connecticut Reading Association’s Nicholas Criscuolo Reading Award for Administrators.

Outstanding Early Career Professional – Claudia Bouchard ’19 MA

Claudia Bouchard
(Submitted photo)

A graduate of the Neag School’s Teacher Certification Program for College Graduates, Claudia Bouchard is a multilingual and multi-grade science teacher for Norwich Free Academy (NFA) in Norwich, Connecticut, who uses her native language (Spanish) to communicate with students who are new arrivals to the U.S. Before NFA, Bouchard worked as a science teacher at the middle school level at Dual Language Arts Magnet Middle School in Waterford and Teacher Memorial Global Studies Magnet Middle School in Norwich and co-taught a course for Arizona State University. She has a passion for project-based learning and has been involved in student research opportunities such as CT Invention Convention, Natural Resources Conservation Academy, Project Oceanology, and more. In her classes at NFA, she supports her students in their language learning while teaching science. Bouchard is also the advisor for the Successful Hispanic Alliance Club at NFA and volunteers at events such as the Hispanic Heritage Celebration at the Waterford Library and the Southeastern Connecticut Hispanic Alliance, among others. In addition, she serves on various community boards, including the Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center, Waterford Rise, Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center in Mystic, Grasso Tech PFO, and the Connecticut Age Well Collaborative. In 2022, she received the Connecticut Education Association (CEA) Salutes Award for her commitment to public education.

Outstanding School Administrator – Scott Hurwitz ’06 (ED), ’07 MA, ’19 Ed.D., ’21 ELP

Scott Hurwitz
(Submitted photo)

Scott Hurwitz has served as the assistant superintendent of finance and operations for Farmington Public Schools (FPS) since 2022 and previously served as the principal for Farmington High School (FHS). His vision and leadership at FHS led the school to be ranked the No. 5 high school in Connecticut by U.S. News and World Report, and he has led the efforts for a brand new, state-of-the-art high school building, which will open in the fall of 2024. While at FHS, Hurwitz led a partnership with a team of educators that helped to use data to discover trends in the school’s scheduling, especially when underrepresented groups were not recommended for taking Advanced Placement and college credit-bearing courses. He also led an initiative to close the opportunity gap by expanding the number of courses offered in AP and Early College Enrollment. Hurwitz has served as an adjunct professor, a doctoral coach for the Neag School’s Department of Educational Leadership, and a Mentor Principal for the University of Connecticut’s Administrator Preparation Program (UCAPP). His education career began at Gideon Welles School in Glastonbury, where he taught sixth-grade world geography before becoming the school’s assistant principal.

Outstanding School Superintendent – David Petrone ’92 MA, ’99 6th Year, ’12 ELP

David Petrone
(Submitted photo)

A graduate of the Neag School’s UCAPP and Executive Leadership Program (ELP), along with earning a master’s in education with a concentration in special education, David Petrone has served as the superintendent for Coventry Public Schools (CPS) in Coventry, Connecticut, since 2012. Petrone serves as the district’s chief executive officer, and in his role, he advocates for preparing the more than 1,600 students for life, learning, and work in the 21st century. Through his leadership, some of the district’s specific accomplishments include secured grant funds to build a new preschool, implemented one-to-one device program for students K-12, redesigned the district’s Technology Department, instituted a full-day kindergarten program, established district innovation grants, created numerous partnerships with state colleges and universities to provide college-level courses for Coventry students, implemented Portrait of the Graduate work, created the Coventry Leadership Academy, redesigned the K-12 Reading Intervention Program, created specialized in-district programs meeting the needs of students such as the program for students identified with autism and Coventry Academy, among other notable accolades.  In addition, one of the district’s schools, the G.H. Robertson School, was recognized as a 2020 National Blue Ribbon School. Before his district role, Petrone served as a school administrator for 12 years. He began his career as a special education teacher at Manchester Regional Academy, where he was selected as the 1998-1999 Teacher of the Year.

Outstanding Higher Education Professional – Susannah Richards ’03 Ph.D.

Susannah Richards
(Submitted photo)

Susannah Richards was appointed associate professor of reading and language arts at Eastern Connecticut State University (ECSU) in 2009 and previously served as an assistant professor for four years. In her role at ECSU, she designed and facilitated numerous literacy and literature for youth courses spanning both undergraduate and graduate levels. Richards has invited multiple award-winning authors, such as Jason Reynolds and Grace Lin, to campus to engage with her students. During that time, she also served as an educational consultant and advisor for book publishing projects for various publishers, including Henry Holt, Penguin, Scholastic, and Simon & Schuster, and served on prestigious book award committees. Richards has provided keynote or featured presentations at numerous state, national, and international educational conferences and is a regular contributor to UConn-sponsored events, including Confratute, the Teaching and Learning with Technology annual conference, and the Human Rights Close to Home initiative. Her service and leadership to the literacy community are extensive, including co-coordinating the Rhode Island Festival of Children’s Books and Authors for the past ten years. Richards has been recognized for her academic achievements through the Norton Juster Reader to Reader Award, Omicron Delta Kappa (Leadership Teacher Inductee) at ECSU, and the 2010 CSU Board of Regents’ Teaching Award for ECSU. Richards began her education career as a second-grade and AP English teacher in Washington, D.C.

Outstanding Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Professional – Madeline Negrón ’98 MA, ’12 Ph.D., ’15 ELP

Madeline Negrón
(Submitted photo)

As New Haven (Connecticut) Public Schools’ (NHPS) superintendent of schools since 2023, Madeline Negrón leads Connecticut’s second-largest pre-K-12 urban school district with 41 schools, inclusive of one adult and continuing education center and one early learning center.  In her role, she serves as the CEO of a seven-member hybrid board of education and establishes expectations for a culture and climate that fosters growth in student achievement. Before NHPS, Negrón served as deputy superintendent for Hartford Public Schools, a pre-K-12 urban school district with 39 schools. At the beginning of her district leadership tenure, she co-founded the Connecticut Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (CALAS), which aims to foster quality and equitable public education for Latino Connecticut students and inspire, cultivate, develop, and support Hispanic/Latino educational leaders and talent. Her more than 20 years in education leadership positions include numerous accolades, such as designing and implementing structures to serve 16,500 students, instituting a team structure for fiscal responsibility and sustainability, and notably increasing four-year graduation rates. Negrón’s educational career began at Windham Middle School where she served as a bilingual teacher.

Distinguished Alumna – Carmen Effron ’72 (ED), ’81 MBA

Carmen Effron
(Submitted photo)

Carmen Effron is the founder and president of C F Effron Company LLC based in Fairfield County, Connecticut. For 25 years the company has focused on the intersection of finance, banking, and insurance. C F Effron Company provides strategy, management consulting as well as customer experience research to numerous banks, credit unions, insurers, and reinsurers both domestically and in Europe, India, South Africa and Australia. Before that, Effron was CEO of BankBoston Executive Benefits and president of BankBoston Insurance Agency (now Bank of America). Her oversight and engagement in the bank’s redesign resulted in a revenue impact of $88 million, process and cost reduction of $188 million, and a 40% rise in sales productivity. Effron was also president of NatWest Bank’s U.S. domestic insurance operations prior to their acquisition and worked in the European market with the American International Group’s European Life Division. Effron next managed the marketing division and corporate communications for the U.K. insurance subsidiary of the French company, Groupe des Assurance Nationale, (GAN). Her broad-based financial services background includes management responsibility for the Northeast sales and marketing division of General Reassurance Corporation and as a personal money manager for Merrill Lynch. A member of the Neag School’s Board of Advocates, Effron set up the Arminio Effron Scholarship Fund in 2007 to support undergraduate or graduate students in the Neag School’s Integrated Bachelor’s/Master’s (IB/M) teacher education program. Effron’s father, Kenneth Arminio, was a careerlong educator and Neag School alumnus. In 2011, Effron was inducted into the UConn School of Business Hall of Fame, one of 150 people honored to date out of 50,000 graduates. In 2013, she received the Connecticut Small Business Institute for Excellence in Commerce award.

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