Full, Equal and Equitable Partnerships with Families

Appendix A: Sources of Input from Families and Other Stakeholders

Focus Groups

Parents and families gave us their ideas in five focus groups around the state and on social media.

  • Parent Leadership Training Institute graduates, via Facebook, organized by Melvette Hill, National Parent Leadership Institute, on August 15, 2017.
  • Families at Nike Tykes Early Learning Center in Manchester, CT, organized by program director Shelly Garow on September 12, 2017.
  • Families at Griswold Elementary School in Griswold, CT, organized by Sandy Frizzel, School Readiness Liaison, on September 13, 2017
  • Fathers affiliated with Real Dads Forever, organized by program founder Doug Edwards in Manchester, CT, on October 4, 2017.
  • Family and Community Engagement and Early Learning Center in Danbury CT, organized by Anne Mead, on October 31, 2017.

Design Team Members

  • Paige Bray, University of Hartford
  • Ingrid Canady, State Education Resource Center
  • Judy Carson, Connecticut State Department of Education
  • George Coleman, Partnership for Early Education
  • Jackie Coleman, Hartford Foundation for Public Giving
  • Mary Farnsworth, Connecticut Office of Early Childhood
  • Melvette Hill, Commission on Women, Children and Seniors
  • Angela Holmes, Waterbury Hospital
  • Jennifer Johnson, Connecticut Office of Early Childhood
  • Jennifer Lussier, Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center
  • Anne Mead, Family Engagement Coordinator, Danbury Public Schools
  • Joanna Meyer, Partnership for Early Education
  • Jennifer Michno, University of Connecticut
  • Carol O’Donnell, Early Childhood Funders Collaborative, Connecticut Council for Philanthropy
  • Charlene Russell Tucker, Connecticut State Department of Education
  • Russell Sims, Family Engagement Coordinator, Windsor Public Schools
  • Deborah Watson, Connecticut Office of Early Childhood


  • Anne T Henderson, Senior Consultant, National Association for Family, School and Community Engagement

The Commissioner’s Round-table for Family and Community Engagement in Education

  • Dr. Dianna R. Wentzell, Commissioner of Education, Connecticut State Department of Education
Parent and Family Representatives
  • Ms. Audrey Brown, Parent, Representing: African Caribbean American Parents of Children with Disabilities (AFCAMP)
  • Ms. Lisa Fair, Parent, Achievement First, Representing: ConnCAN
  • Ms. Jennifer Falotico, Vice President for Membership, Connecticut Parent Teacher Association
  • Ms. Aggie Kurzyna, Parent, Representing: CT Parent Power
  • Ms. Jennifer Lussier, Parent Consultant, Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center
  • Mr. Bryan Randall, Personnel Officer, U.S. Naval Submarine Base, Representing: State Council for Educational Opportunities for Military Children
  • Ms. Donna Thompson-Bennett, National Coordinator, National Parent Leadership Institute
  • Ms. Tynima Toney, Parent Coach, Hartford Parent University
  • Ms. Athena Wagner, Outreach Coordinator, State of Black Connecticut Alliance/CT Parents’ Union
  • Mr. Beresford Wilson, Assistant Director, FAVOR
Community Organization Representative
  • Dr. Jeana Bracey, Director School and Community Initiatives, Child Health and Development Institute
  • Ms. Paula Gilberto, CEO, United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut, Representing: United Way of CT
  • Ms. Natasha Harris, Director of Workforce Quality Assurance, Urban League of Greater Hartford
  • Ms. Tamara Lanier, Chief Probation Officer, Connecticut Judicial Branch, Court Support Services Division, Representing: Connecticut State Conference of NAACP
  • Ms. Chemay Morales-James, Educational Equity Coach, My Reflection Matters & Bridge to Success, Representing: Commission on Equity and Opportunity
  • Mr. David Scata, Director of Education, Mohegan Tribe
  • Ms. Sara Sneed, Director, Education Investments, Hartford Foundation for Public Giving
  • Ms. Mirellise Vazquez, Executive Director Tauck Family Foundation, Representing: CT Council on Philanthropy
Education Organization Representatives
  • Dr. Abie Benitez, President, Connecticut Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents, Representing: CT Association of Schools (CAS)
  • Mr. Jeffrey Bianco, Co-Chair, Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) Connecticut
  • Dr. Paige Bray, Associate Dean for Research and Community Education, Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education, University of Hartford, Representing: Deans of Schools of Education
  • Ms. Elizabeth Brown, President, Waterbury Board of Education, Representing: CT Association of Boards Education (CABE)
  • Ms. Mary Lou DiPaola, ESL Teacher, New Haven Public Schools, Representing: CT Federation of Educational and Professional Employees (AFT-CT)
  • Dr. Clifford Dudley, Principal, Orchard Hills School, Milford Public Schools, Representing: CT Federation of School Administrators
  • Mr. Mario Florez, Director of School Climate and Culture, Hartford Public Schools, Representing: Commission on Women, Children and Seniors
  • Mr. Matthew Geary, Superintendent of Schools, Manchester Public Schools, Representing: CT Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS)
  • Dr. Nikitoula Menounos, Principal, Norwich Technical High School, Representing: CT Technical High School System
  • Mr. Robert Smoler, President, Fairfield Education Association, Representing: CT Education Association (CEA)
  • Mr. John Taylor, Executive Director, Booker T. Washington Academy, Representing: Northeast Charter Schools Network

Student Representatives

  • Ms. Derby Egyin, Student, Windsor Locks High School, Representing: State Student Advisory Council on Education
  • Mr. Giancarlo Isotti, Student, Suffield High School, Representing: State Student Advisory Council on Education

Connecticut State Department of Education Leaders/Staff

  • Ms. Charlene Russell-Tucker, Chief Operating Officer, Connecticut State Department of Education
  • Ms. Ellen Cohn, Deputy Commissioner, Connecticut State Department of Education
  • Mr. John Frassinelli, Chief, Bureau of Health/Nutrition, Family Services and Adult Education Connecticut State Department of Education
  • Dr. Judy Carson, Education Consultant, Connecticut State Department of Education


  • Ms. Ingrid Canady, Executive Director, State Education Resource Center and CT Parent Information and Resource Center