Education Commissioner Cardona Announces Irene Parisi Joins Agency as Chief Academic Officer
(Hartford, CT) - Education Commissioner Dr. Miguel A. Cardona is pleased to announce today that Irene Parisi has joined the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) to serve as Chief Academic Officer (CAO). She will be responsible for overseeing the operations of CSDE’s Academic Office in the areas of Standards Implementation and Curriculum, Instruction, and working in partnership with administrators and educators to develop model curricula, providing frameworks and tool kits to be leveraged across the state’s roughly 200 school districts. During this pandemic, her focus will be the development of coherent academic support materials for districts that are aligned to Connecticut’s standards and address the learning loss resulting from the educational disruption.
As CAO, Ms. Parisi will also lead CSDE’s coordination with state and local educational content leaders to continue the department’s support of the statewide implementation of Core Standards to provide a consistent, clear understanding of expectations for learners so that all students graduate college- and career-ready. This includes administering programs and operations of statewide educational services to higher education institutions, local school systems and other state and federal agencies.
Throughout her two decades of PK-12 experience, Ms. Parisi has demonstrated success driving improved student outcomes and performance as an academic leader, including most recently in her position as Assistant Superintendent and CAO for Greenwich Public Schools. She began her career as an educator with Meriden Public Schools, and has previously served as East Windsor School District’s Instructional Coach and as Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment. Ms. Parisi’s background as a district leader and educator is supplemented by her proven record in strategic planning to build positive school culture and climate across 16 schools with an emphasis on student achievement, belonging, learning, professionalism, and continuous improvement. She spearheaded the districtwide implementation of a Racial Balance–Achievement Gap plan and is a strong advocate for an equity informed learning environment to ensure all learners have access to advanced opportunities.
During her time with Greenwich Public Schools, Ms. Parisi developed specific proficiency in personalized learning and shared that expertise with administrators and teachers in order to improve student achievement. She co-designed a district Digital Learning Environment (1:1) implementation plan and the development of a personalized learning pilot across 6 elementary schools and 21 classrooms. This included working collaboratively to develop a logical system of support for redesigned time and space for learning, and scaling that system to ensure a personalized learning environment for the district’s 8,900 students.
Ms. Parisi possesses a strong knowledge of formative and summative assessment, curriculum and professional development, and a track record of leveraging these tools to drive differentiated instruction and improved educational outcomes.
In the position of CAO, Ms. Parisi will expand the effective, strength-based approach to consensus building she utilized as a district administrator to guide organizational change and growth based on appreciative inquiry, transparency, and valuing diverse perspectives to be inclusive of all stakeholders. As a dedicated PTA Council Partner, she advanced and presented numerous parental support series to improve civic capacity on digital learning, personal learning, curriculum and budget. This experience is especially important to her role at CSDE as her efforts will largely include fostering and maintaining stakeholder partnerships focused on family and community engagement.
More on Ms. Parisi’s academic and professional background, and distinctions:
- UConn, Executive Leadership Program; Superintendent - 093 (Anticipated Graduation July 2020).
- Central Connecticut State University, Education Leadership Sixth Year Program; Intermediate Administration or Supervision - 092 (Class of 2010).
- University of New Haven; Masters of Education (Class of 2008); Bachelor of Science, Music (Class of 1996).
- Greenwich Public Schools; Assistant Superintendent/Chief Academic Officer, 2012 – Present.
- East Windsor Public Schools; Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, 2010 – 2012; Instructional Coach, 2008 – 2010.
- Meriden Public Schools; Educator, 1998 – 2008.
- Co-Chair; CT Association of Public School Superintendents’ (CAPSS) Executive District Leaders’ Roundtable.
- Author - Teacher Created Resources.
- Former Meriden Board of Education member
The SBE appointed Ms. Parisi to the role of CAO during a special meeting of the board on April 23, 2020. Following her appointment, Commissioner Cardona said, “Even before the pandemic, academic achievement disparities have been an area of focus in Connecticut. As part of our efforts to improve equity and access for our learners, we know having a strong leader in the Academic Office is critical. These efforts only became more urgently needed as a result of the pandemic. Irene’s experience creating high quality curriculum, addressing achievement disparities, and her background in distance and personalized learning will allow CSDE to be a greater resource to our districts, and ultimately, to our students. I know she will continue that great work at the department and am excited to welcome Ms. Parisi to our dedicated CSDE team.”
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