Charlene M. Russell-Tucker was appointed by Governor Ned Lamont as Commissioner-Designate for the Connecticut State Department of Education in August 2021. Until her appointment, she served as Acting Commissioner from March through August. Prior to serving as Acting Commissioner, she served as the Department’s Deputy Commissioner, a role in which she oversaw educational supports and wellness priorities. Previously, she served as Chief Operating Officer and Division Chief for the Department's Office of Student Supports and Organizational Effectiveness. She also served as Associate Commissioner of Education and Bureau Chief within the Department overseeing a portfolio of programs and services that included student health, nutrition and safety, family engagement, magnet and charter schools, afterschool programs and services, school climate, adult education, and special education. She is a performance-driven and visionary education leader with over 20 years’ experience in successfully leveraging the inter-connectedness of the social, emotional, physical, and mental health of students and their families as foundations for positive school and life outcomes. She passionately supports family and community engagement in education and leads school attendance and school discipline initiatives with intensive focus on equity and diversity.
Ms. Russell-Tucker has participated on various state and national committees, such as the Connecticut General Assembly Committee on Children Strategic Action Group on Chronic Absence, and she has served as an expert panel member on committees of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. She has also served in the role of president of the Connecticut Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and as a member of the national Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Ms. Russell-Tucker has extensive teaching experience, formerly serving as an adjunct faculty member at Albertus Magnus College School of New Dimensions.
In 2015, Ms. Russell-Tucker was named to the inaugural class of 100 Women of Color in Connecticut. In 2018, she was welcomed to the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading's Council of Champions. Most recently, she received MENTOR National’s Public Service – State & Local Excellence in Mentoring Award in 2021. On a personal note, Ms. Russell-Tucker believes in finding and fulfilling one’s life’s purpose.