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Capitol Region Education Council

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CREC Location Providing Free Breakfast and Lunch to Students for Seamless Summer Option Food Program

CREC announced its participation in the federally funded Seamless Summer Option (SSO) of the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Under the SSO, nutritious meals are provided free of charge to all children 18 years and younger.

CREC Welcomes New Assistant Executive Director, Desi Nesmith

(Hartford, Conn.) The Capitol Region Education Council (CREC) is excited to announce the hiring of Desi Nesmith as our Assistant Executive Director. Nesmith’s first day with CREC was Tuesday, April 30, filling a position on CREC’s Executive Leadership Team that has been unappointed for several years.Nesmith comes to CREC from the Bloomfield Public Schools where he held the title of Assistant Superintendent. Before his role in Bloomfield, he was the Deputy Commissioner at the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE), overseeing the Strategic Planning, Performance, Academic, and Turnaround offices. Nesmith collaborated closely with the Learn from Home Task Force during his tenure to bridge the digital divide by providing devices and connectivity to Connecticut families. He also served as the agency's Federal Liaison to the U.S. Department of Education, shaping statewide federal funding priorities, and he served on the General Assembly’s Juvenile Justice Policy Oversight Committee.In June 2019, Governor Ned Lamont appointed Nesmith as Interim Commissioner of Education, overseeing CSDE during the transition to a permanent Education Commissioner. Earlier, he served as Chief Turnaround Officer, managing the state's Alliance District and Charter School programs, promoting equity and excellence across Connecticut's schools. Nesmith’s educational leadership experience extends back to his role as principal of Metacomet Elementary School in Bloomfield, where he significantly improved student achievement, receiving national recognition with the Milken Educator's Award in 2014.“I am honored and excited join the CREC team as an Assistant Executive Director,” said Nesmith. “I look forward to working with colleagues here at CREC as well as the other Regional Educational Service Centers (RESCs) and our member districts.”The role of Assistant Executive Director at CREC develops and implements the overall vision, mission, and goals of the agency and supervises, provides guidance, and evaluates programs and leadership across the agency. He will also interface directly with key stakeholders across the state involved with regional education, budgets, and operational development like the RESC Alliance, State Department of Education, Connecticut Association of Boards of Education, and the Connecticut General Assembly.“It gives me great pleasure to welcome Desi Nesmith to the position of Assistant Executive Director,” said Greg Florio, CREC Executive Director. “Desi's extensive background in educational leadership, aligns perfectly with CREC's core values and strategic goals. His proven commitment to enhancing educational opportunities and equity will undoubtedly propel our mission forward."The CREC community eagerly looks forward to embracing Nesmith in his new position, expecting a period of continuous development and success under his guidance. ###The Capitol Region Education Council was established in 1966. Working with and for its member districts, CREC has developed a wide array of cost-effective and high-quality programs and services to meet the educational needs of children and adults in the region. CREC brings over five decades of experience in education, regional collaboration, and operations to provide innovative strategies and products that address the changing needs of school districts and their students, corporations, non-profits, and individual professions. CREC regularly serves 35 towns in Greater Hartford, offering more than 120 programs to more than 150,000 students annually. CREC manages more than 40 facilities throughout the area, including 16 interdistrict magnet schools and two magnet programs. More information about CREC and CREC’s award-winning schools is available at www.crec.org.

CREC Magnet Schools Welcomes New Superintendent, Dr. Sasha Douglas

(Hartford, Conn.) The Capitol Region Education Council (CREC) is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Sasha Douglas as the new Superintendent of CREC Magnet Schools, effective July 1, 2024. Dr. Douglas will succeed Timothy Sullivan Jr., who is retiring after a distinguished 35-year career in education, the last seven as superintendent of CREC Magnet Schools.Dr. Douglas currently serves as Assistant Superintendent of CREC Magnet Schools, where she has significantly contributed to the district's leadership, with a special focus on Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment. She joined CREC in 2011 as the principal of the CREC Metropolitan Learning Center for Global & International Studies, where she spearheaded the adoption of the "IB (International Baccalaureate) for All" approach, enhancing college preparatory access for all students. Her leadership transformed the school into a regional leader in college acceptance and retention."I am honored to assume the privilege of leading CREC Magnet Schools," said Dr. Douglas. "CREC’s Core Values reflect a commitment to serving the best interest of each child. I have seen this commitment firsthand as an educator and as a CREC parent. I look forward to inspiring continued excellence and innovation in CREC Magnet Schools."In April 2024, Dr. Douglas completed her doctorate in Educational Leadership at the University of Connecticut, focusing her research on immigrant mothers and their experiences with their children’s schools. Born in Jamaica, Dr. Douglas takes pride in her heritage, and her journey—both personal and professional—showcases the power of education. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Africana Studies and a Master of Arts in Teaching, focused on Social Studies, both from Brown University."Sasha has made several important contributions to our work on the Magnet Schools Leadership team since she joined in 2020. She has proven herself to be an invaluable asset to our magnet schools and key leader in both the magnet schools and our agency as a whole,” said outgoing Superintendent Timothy Sullivan Jr. expressing his confidence in Dr. Douglas’s capabilities. “Her emphatic belief in the potential of people is an inspiration to us all.""I am thrilled to appoint Sasha Douglas as Superintendent. CREC’s Mission, Vision, and Core Values drive Sasha’s work and her belief that all children have potential for great things and that it is our responsibility to assure each one of them achieves that potential,” said Greg Florio, CREC Executive Director.The CREC community is excited to welcome Dr. Douglas into her new role and anticipates a future of sustained growth and achievement under her leadership.###The Capitol Region Education Council was established in 1966. Working with and for its member districts, CREC has developed a wide array of cost-effective and high-quality programs and services to meet the educational needs of children and adults in the region. CREC brings over five decades of experience in education, regional collaboration, and operations to provide innovative strategies and products that address the changing needs of school districts and their students, corporations, non-profits, and individual professions. CREC regularly serves 35 towns in Greater Hartford, offering more than 120 programs to more than 150,000 students annually. CREC manages more than 40 facilities throughout the area, including 16 interdistrict magnet schools and two magnet programs. More information about CREC and CREC’s award-winning schools is available at www.crec.org.

CT Teacher Residency Program given approval by State BOE for Middle School Math Program

On Wednesday, March 6, 2024, The Connecticut State Board of Education officially granted approval to the Capitol Region Education Council (CREC) for a Mathematics certification through the groundbreaking Connecticut Teacher Residency Program (CT-TRP). This decision empowers CT-TRP to certify graduates in the critical certification area of Mathematics for grades 4-8. The approval is valid through October 31, 2026, with annual progress monitoring based on CREC’s Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) annual report data, in conjunction with the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) review committee's evaluations.This pioneering program is specifically designed to address the significant shortage of certified middle school mathematics teachers and teachers of color. By focusing on this crucial educational segment, TRP aims to cultivate a cadre of educators who are not only proficient in mathematics but also embody the diversity of the student populations they serve. The program prioritizes recruitment from existing non-certified staff within partner districts, offering them a pathway to certification that includes a full-time residency with competitive pay and benefits. The CT-TRP Math program is set to begin implementation in the summer of 2024, with CREC eagerly anticipating the recruitment of its inaugural cohort. "The Connecticut Teacher Residency Program is excited to add middle school mathematics to our growing list of certification pathways. Research has shown that teacher residency models are an innovative approach to recruiting, preparing and retaining high-quality teachers,” said Ushawnda Mitchell, Managing Director of Residency for CT TRP, to highlight the program's significance. “With the support of the RESC Alliance, our partner districts, and grant funders, we continue to diversify Connecticut's teacher workforce. We currently have 102 (95% are people of color) TRP teachers from our first four cohorts currently serving as teachers of record in elementary classrooms across the state of Connecticut. This fall we will not only add more elementary teachers to this growing number but also special education teachers and next year math."During their first academic year, candidates will engage in over 450 contact hours of coursework covering both the content and pedagogy of middle school mathematics. This includes intensive summer sessions and evening courses during the residency year, alongside additional professional development opportunities through school-based learning. This comprehensive approach ensures that upon meeting certification requirements, these educators are well-prepared to assume full-time positions as middle school mathematics teachers, equipped with the knowledge, skills, and insight to inspire and educate future generations."I am extremely excited with the expansion of TRP to include middle school math certification,” said Nicole Sanders, Assistant Chief Talent Officer for the Consolidated School District of New Britain (CSDNB), a partnering school district. “This is yet another opportunity to grow CSDNB educator pathway to diversify the workforce. CSDNB and TRP's continuous partnership and commitment to aspirant teachers challenges traditional methods for recruitment, hiring and selection and retention is in its infancy and we look forward to what future endeavors."  For more information about the TRP-Math program and how this initiative represents a strategic response to the evolving needs of Connecticut's educational system, providing a viable solution to the twin challenges of teacher shortage and lack of diversity in the STEM fields, visit ct-trp.org. ###The Capitol Region Education Council was established in 1966. Working with and for its member districts, CREC has developed a wide array of cost-effective and high-quality programs and services to meet the educational needs of children and adults in the region. CREC brings over five decades of experience in education, regional collaboration, and operations to provide innovative strategies and products that address the changing needs of school districts and their students, corporations, non-profits, and individual professions. CREC regularly serves 36 towns in Greater Hartford, offering more than 120 programs to more than 150,000 students annually. CREC manages more than 35 facilities throughout the area, including 16 interdistrict magnet schools and two magnet programs. More information about CREC and CREC’s award-winning schools is available at www.crec.org.

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