Governor Lamont Appoints Four Members to State Board of Education
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that he is appointing four Connecticut residents to serve as members of the State Board of Education, including Bonnie E. Burr of Brookfield, Karen DuBois-Walton of New Haven, Martha Paluch Prou of Bloomfield, and Awilda Reasco of New Britain.
The State Board of Education is responsible for establishing academic standards and setting policy for Connecticut’s 149 local and 17 regional school districts, including preschool, elementary and secondary education, special education, vocational education and adult education. It also serves as the board of education for the state’s 17 regional technical high schools.
“Connecticut schools rightly have a reputation for being among the best in the nation, and maintaining that standing is key to attracting new businesses that are going to grow high-quality, high-paying jobs in our state because, quite frankly, they need the workers who are prepared with the skills that match the needs of 21st century jobs,” Governor Lamont said. “My administration is determined to reform the way all of our education and workforce development organizations operate – our high schools, colleges, and businesses all need to be at the table and work collaboratively so that our teachers know what skills to teach, and our students know what jobs will be awaiting them. And students who live in every community of our state – regardless of their family’s income level or their zip code – must have access to all of the opportunities that will propel them to success throughout their careers. These new members of our State Board of Education have the qualities that are going to help us achieve this goal, and I look forward to working with them as we tackle this mission.”
“Every student in Connecticut deserves a quality education, no matter where they live,” Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz said. “Each of these women will bring quality professional experience to their new roles as members of the State Board of Education and I look forward to working with them to make our state’s education system more equitable.”
“It is a pleasure to join Governor Lamont and Chairman Taylor in welcoming the newest members of the State Board of Education as we continue to move towards equitable, successful outcomes for all of our students,” Connecticut Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona said. “Given the diverse and extensive professional experience these individuals bring to the table, I am confident they will add value to our ongoing work. That includes supporting educators and districts with a strong academic core with high quality curriculum and engaging our partners to design postsecondary pathways that position our K-12 system to graduate students ready to meet the demands of the 21st century economy.”
“I thank Governor Lamont for his partnership in furthering our work in the interests of Connecticut’s students,” Allan Taylor, chairman of the State Board Education, said. “On behalf of the continuing members of the board, I welcome these talented individuals and look forward greatly to working together to deliver on our promise of an equitable and excellent education that meets our students’ academic and non-academic needs, gives them access to great educators and schools, and ensures their success in college, career and life.”
The State Board of Education consists of 14 members: ten voting members who serve staggered four-year terms, with at least one who must have experience in manufacturing and another who must have experience in agriculture; two nonvoting, high school student members who serve one-year terms; and the president of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities and chair of the Technical Education and Career System board, both of whom are nonvoting, ex-officio members. Each of the ten voting members and two student members are appointed by the governor and must be confirmed by the General Assembly.
Burr will fill the seat required to have agricultural experience, and Prou will fill the seat required to have manufacturing experience.
Bonnie Burr currently serves as Assistant Director and Department Head with the Cooperative Extension System at the University of Connecticut College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources, where she has worked since 2009. In this position, she provides leadership assistance to 105 faculty and staff managing a wide variety of outreach and educational programs involving public engagement in local, state, regional, national, and international programs. She also currently serves as State Chair of the State Committee United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency for Connecticut.
Previously, she served as state director of the USDA Farm Service Agency for Connecticut and Rhode Island, and was the director of government relations for the Connecticut Farm Bureau.
She earned her BS in animal science and agriculture from the University of Connecticut and MS in public nonprofit administration from Western Connecticut State University.
Burr serves on a number of community and civic organizations, including in positions with the 4-H Education Center at Auerfarm, the steering committee of the Working Lands Alliance – American Farmland Trust, the New England Holstein Dairy Cattle Association, and as Connecticut Trustee for the Eastern States Exposition.
Karen DuBois-Walton currently serves as the Executive Director of the Elm City Communities/Housing Authority of the City of New Haven, President of The Glendower Group, LLC (the development affiliate of ECC/HANH) and President of 360 Management Group, Co. (the property management affiliate of ECC/HANH) responsible for administrative, programmatic and policy direction of the public housing, housing choice voucher program, low income housing tax credit program, finance and planning and development activities. Prior to assuming this role, Dr. DuBois-Walton served as the Chief Operating Officer for HANH, and also served as Chief of Staff and Chief Administrative Officer in the office of former mayor of New Haven, John DeStefano, Jr.
A trained clinical psychologist, prior to assuming positions with the Housing Authority and the City of New Haven, she served in positions with the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and Yale University Child Study Center.
DuBois-Walton earned her BA from Yale University and MA and Ph.D. from Boston University. She serves on numerous Boards and Commissions and is an active member of the New Haven community where she resides with her husband and two sons.
In 2014 she was named one of The Network Journal’s “25 Most Influential Black Women in Business.” In 2011 and 2013, she was named one of the “100 Most Influential Blacks in Connecticut” by the Connecticut State Conference of the NAACP. In 2015, she was awarded the Greater New Haven NAACP’s Community Service Award.
Martha Paluch Prou
Martha Paluch Prou currently serves as the director of administration and compliance with Phoenix Manufacturing, Inc., a women-owned, privately held precision machined aerospace components manufacturer located in Enfield. In this role, Prou manages the company’s AS9100 and NADCAP certified quality system, as well as its data management systems and export compliance program.
Previously, she served as membership and database manager for the Association Management Group in McLean, Virginia and an assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services for the United States Department of Commerce.
Prou earned her BA in international studies from the Johns Hopkins University.
Awilda Reasco currently serves as the Director of Pre-Collegiate and Access Services at Central Connecticut State University (CCSU), where she leads a program that provides opportunities for high school seniors who have the potential and desire to attend the university but do not meet the university’s regular admissions standards. The program provides these students with academic support and preparation, including courses in personal and professional growth. Reasco has served in several positions with this office since 1987.
Reasco earned her BA in psychology from CCSU and MA in social work from the University of Connecticut. She is involved with several community groups including the Connecticut Association of Education Opportunity Programs in Connecticut, the Latin-American and Caribbean Center at CCSU, and was a former commissioner for the Connecticut Puerto Rican and Latino Affairs Commission.
She has been honored by the YWCA with the Women Leadership Award, the CCSU chapter of the NAACP with the Dedication Award, and was Advisor of the Year for CCSU’s Latin American Student Organization.