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SPS Announces Restructuring of Teaching & Learning Department
Kim Kempton

SPS Announces Restructuring of Teaching & Learning Department
Prendergast Named Director; Berlage, Greene & Kolman Named Assistant Directors 

 

Superintendent Dr. Tamu Lucero and Chief Academic Officer (CAO) Amy Beldotti are pleased to announce the restructuring of the Stamford Public Schools Teaching & Learning Department, which supports the work of more than 1,600 state-certified educators and administrators across 25 schools and learning programs. The restructuring was accomplished through the realignment of roles and responsibilities within the Teaching & Learning Department without adding staff. 

The Teaching & Learning Department is responsible for providing SPS educators with the support and resources necessary to meet the instructional and social emotional needs of Stamford’s diverse student population of more than 16,400 students in PreK through Grade 12. All district-level work related to student outcomes, support, and data will now be managed through one of six Teaching & Learning Department teams. 
 

Teaching & Learning Department Teams

Early Childhood
(Birth to Age 5)

Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment, Elementary 

Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment, Secondary

Special Education &
Related Services 

Enrichment &
Supplemental Programs

Systems & Student
Outcome Data

“Teaching and learning are central to everything we do in Stamford Public Schools, and this restructuring will result in a strong system of professional support for the teachers, staff and administrators who are educating Stamford’s students," explained Mrs. Beldotti.  “I am excited to be working with this team of highly accomplished, dedicated educators who bring diverse perspectives and expertise to their roles.  Working together with building administrators, teachers and staff, we can ensure that all students are prepared for success beyond high school graduation."

Each team includes a Director who reports to the Chief Academic Officer as well as one or more Assistant Directors and Teachers on Special Assignment (TOSAs). Directors and Assistant Directors are CT-certified school administrators who are members of the Stamford Administrative Unit (SAU). TOSAs are CT-certified educators and content area experts who are members of the Stamford Education Association (SEA). TOSAs create a critical connection to classrooms, spending the majority of their time in schools providing coaching and other support to their peers.

Dr. Lucero and Mrs. Beldotti are also pleased to announce the following staff changes as part of the recently-completed restructuring: 

  • Sherri Prendergast: Director, Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment, Elementary  
  • Dr. Claudia Berlage, Assistant Director, Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment, 
  • Secondary Pathways/CTE/PE
  • Dr. Laura Greene: Assistant Director, Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment, Secondary Humanities 
  • Jon Kolman: Assistant Director, Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment, Elementary STEM/STEAM
  • Amanda Casagrande: TOSA MTSS for Elementary STEM/STEAM  
  • Michelle Phillips: TOSA MTSS for Secondary STEM/STEAM
  • Adam Scianna, TOSA MTSS for Pathways/CTE/PE
  • Shana Halsey, Interim Assistant Director, Special Education 

Following is a description of each focus area, followed by staff biographies. 
 

Early Childhood (Birth to Age 5): 
The Early Childhood Team works directly with more than 350 students who attend the APPLES PreK program operated by Stamford Public Schools. In addition, they provide school readiness and kindergarten transition guidance and support to more than 80 Early Childhood Programs throughout Stamford to help ensure children make a successful transition to kindergarten. 

  • Kendra Brown, Director 
  • Cynthia Manifold-Dougherty, Assistant Director of Early Childhood Development & Intervention 
  • Brooke Pelli, Assistant Director of Early Childhood Development & Intervention 

Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment, Elementary (PreK-5)
The Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment team plans, develops, and directs the implementation of curriculum and assessments in all content areas in grades PreK-5 and is also responsible for the creation and delivery of professional learning opportunities in support of high-quality classroom instruction. This team also manages the early kindergarten admission assessment process as well as the Multilingual Learner Programs in elementary schools. 

  • Sherri Prendergast, Director 
  • Heather Corrente, Assistant Director (Humanities) 
  • Tracy Stuart, TOSA MTSS (Humanities)
  • Jon Kolman, Assistant Director (STEM/STEAM) 
  • Amanda Casagrande, TOSA MTSS (STEM/STEAM)  

Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment, Secondary (6-12)
The Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment team plans, develops, and directs the implementation of curriculum and assessments in all content areas in grades 6-12 and also is responsible for the creation and delivery of professional learning opportunities in support of high-quality classroom instruction. This team also manages the Multilingual Learner Programs in secondary schools. 

  • Colleen Weiner, Director 
  • Dr. Laura Greene, Assistant Director (Humanities) 
  • Mary Enright, TOSA MTSS (Humanities)
  • Rob de Andrade, Assistant Director (STEM/STEAM) 
  • Michelle Phillips, TOSA MTSS (STEM/STEAM)  
  • Dr. Claudia Berlage, Assistant Director (Pathways/CTE/PE)
  • Adam Scianna, TOSA MTSS (Pathways/CTE/PE)
  • Yasmin Tirado, TOSA for SPS Welcome Center 
  • Lauren Bachner, TOSA for Multilingual Learner Support
  • Sandy Schwoerer, TOSA for Multilingual Learner Support

Special Education & Related Services
The Special Education & Student Support Services team works to ensure that students with disabilities have access to specialized instruction, related services, and accommodations so they can reach their full learning potential. This team also oversees the district's K-12 social emotional learning programs and student support services including social work, psychology, and speech language pathology. Nearly 17 percent of SPS students qualified for special education services in 2023-24. 

  • Meghan Osowiecki, Director  
  • Kerriann Duffy Boucher, Assistant Director, Special Education & Related Services   
  • Jon Panzer, Assistant Director, Special Education & Related Services   
  • Melissa Castiglia, Assistant Director, Special Education & Related Services 
  • Shana Halsey, Interim Assistant Director, Special Education & Related Services 

Enrichment and Supplemental Programs
The Enrichment and Supplemental Programs team manages nearly 20 district-wide, multi-million dollar  grants that support both in-school programming (e.g. Title I and Title IV grants) and after school enrichment programming (e.g. ALTA, Extended School Hours, and 21st Century grants). This team manages the grant application process as well as budgeting, implementation, evaluation, and reporting for all grants received. 

  • Cheryl Poltrack, Director

Systems & Student Outcome Data
The Systems & Student Outcome Data Team manages the district-wide Data Team and research workflows, and also supports district-wide attendance reporting, state testing, and state data reporting. This team is also responsible for the district’s technology planning and implementation, including budgeting and hardware and software training and support. 

  • Scott Clayton, Director
  • Alec Iogman, Assistant Director
  • Jeannette Christian, TOSA for Technology

In addition to the full-time Teaching & Learning staff, building-based K-12 teachers are hired by the district, as needed, to work on curriculum committees and other projects during non-school hours. During the 2023-24 school year, more than 250 SEA member educators were hired to help develop and write curriculum as part of the District’s 3-year project to bring curriculum in all content areas and across all grade levels to gold-star standard. 

Teaching & Learning Staff Biographies: 

Lauren Bachner has been a TOSA for English Learner Professional Development and Coaching since 2022. Prior to joining the Teaching & Learning Department, she was an EL Teacher at AITE and Cloonan Middle School from 2016 to 2022. She began her career as an EFL Teacher at Interlingua School in Guiyang, China. After returning to the States, she taught ESL at St. Giles International in New York City, later teaching English to adult learners at Eastern Connecticut State University, the University of Bridgeport, and Valley Regional Adult Education in Shelton, CT. She has a Bachelors in English from Suffolk University, a Masters in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from Fairfield University and is pursuing a Doctorate in Educational Leadership with the American College of Education, which will include her Principal Certification (CT 092). Her professional certifications include Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages PreK-12 (CT 111), Grades 7-12 English (CT 015), and Adult Education (CT 088).

Dr. Claudia Berlage began her teaching career in her native Switzerland. She was a Mathematics Teacher and Mathematics Department Head for Bridgeport Public Schools from 2009 to 2013, when she joined Stamford Public Schools as an Assistant Principal at Stamford High School. As Assistant Principal, Dr. Berlage oversaw the mathematics and science departments and was the master scheduler from 2013 to 2021 before creating and overseeing the Career Pathways, Workplace Learning, & Apprenticeships Department  from 2021 to 2024. Dr. Berlage has a Masters in Business Administration and a Masters in Teaching  (Business, Accounting, Law and Economics 9-12) from the University of Zurich and earned certifications as a Teacher of Mathematics (7-12) and Teacher of Business (7-12) from the University of Bridgeport. She earned a Doctorate in Education from the University of Bridgeport and subsequently returned to school to earn a Masters in Criminal Justice from John Jay College in New York. Dr. Berlage has been an adjunct professor in the graduate and doctoral education programs at the University of Bridgeport since 2012. Her professional certifications include Cooperative Work Education/Diversified Occupations (CT 104); Grades 7-12 Mathematics (CT 029); Grades 7-12 Business (CT 010) and K-12 Intermediate Administration or Supervision (CT 092). 

Kendra Brown has been Director of Early Childhood since 2018 after being named Interim Director in  2017. Prior to leading Early Childhood Education, Brown was the Assistant Principal at Davenport Elementary from 2014 to 2017, where she also served as the SRBI Teacher and Individual Learning Needs Coach from 2011 to 2014 and was a Special Education Teacher from 2008 to 2011. Kendra began her career in education as a Special Education Teacher at Columbus Elementary School in Bridgeport. Brown has a Bachelors in Elementary and Special Education from the University of Saint Joseph, a Masters in Remedial Reading/Remedial Language Arts Specialist from Southern Connecticut State University, and earned her Sixth Year Certification from the University of Bridgeport. Her professional certifications include PreK-12 Comprehensive Special Education (CT 165); 1-12 Remedial Reading and Language Arts (CT 102), and Intermediate Administration or Supervision (CT 092). 
Dr. Amanda Casagrande joined Stamford Public Schools in 2021 as the SRBI Teacher at Westover Magnet Elementary School, where she provided support to classroom teachers implementing Tier 1 and 2 interventions for behavior and academics. She spent 16 years in New Haven Public Schools where she was a First Grade Teacher and later a grades 3-5 Literacy Teacher. She has a Bachelors in Human Services from St. John’s University, a Masters in Elementary Education from Southern Connecticut State University and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Liberty University. She is a CT-certified K-6 Elementary Education teacher (CT 013).
Melissa Castiglia has been an Assistant Director of Special Education for Stamford Public Schools since 2022. Previously, she was an IEP Compliance Support Teacher (2021-2022) and also a Special Education Teacher at Toquam Elementary School (2013-2021). Ms. Castiglia earned a dual Bachelors in Elementary Education and Special Education from Arizona State University. She has a Masters in Education from the University of Bridgeport where she also completed Advanced Graduate Study in Educational Administration & Supervision. Her professional certifications include K-6 Elementary (CT 013), PreK-12 Comprehensive Special Education (CT 165), and Intermediate Administration & Supervision (CT 092). 

Jeanette Christian has been the TOSA for Technology since 2022. Before joining the central office, she was a Technology Integration Support Specialist at Northeast Elementary, the School Library Media Specialist at Toquam Magnet Elementary, and the School Library Media Specialist at Hart Magnet Elementary. Earlier in her career she was a Grade 6 teacher of science, reading, and language arts at James A. Farley Middle School in Stony Point, NY and a Grade 6 science teacher at Monticello Middle School in Monticello, NY. Mrs. Christian has a Bachelors in Elementary Education from the State University of New York at Oswego, a Masters in Instructional Technology from the New York Institute of Technology, and Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Administration from the State University of New York at New Paltz. Her professional certifications include K-6 Elementary Education (CT 013), School Library Media Specialist (CT 062) and Intermediate Administration or Supervision (CT 092).
Scott Clayton was Principal of Scofield Magnet Middle School from 2012-2024. During his tenure, Scofield was recognized for its teaching practice and student achievement by both the New England League of Middle Schools (NELMS Spotlight School 2015, 2018, 2023) and the Connecticut Association of Schools (CAS Finalist “Middle School of the Year” 2023). Prior to joining Scofield, Clayton was Assistant Principal at Newtown High School in Sandy Hook, CT where he also served as Dean of Students and was a social studies teacher. Clayton began his career as an eighth grade U.S. History teacher at Rippowam Magnet Middle School in Stamford. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in History from Western Connecticut State University, a Master of Science in Secondary Education from the University of Bridgeport, a Sixth Year Certificate in Educational Administration/Leadership from Sacred Heart University, and Superintendent Certification from Central Connecticut State University. His professional certifications include Superintendent (CT 093), K-12 Intermediate Administration or Supervision (CT 092), and Grades 7-12 History and Social Studies (CT026). 

Heather Corrente has 20 years of experience as an ELA teacher, literacy coach, TOSA, and PreK-12 curriculum associate. She began her career as a middle school ELA Teacher at Ponus Ridge Middle School in Norwalk and later worked in a similar role at Trinity Catholic High School in Stamford. She joined Stamford Public Schools as a Literacy Coach and ELA Teacher at Westhill High School in 2007. She has worked in the Teaching & Learning Department since 2008 in a variety of roles including Curriculum Associate for Literacy (K-12), TOSA for Humanities (K-5), and Assistant Director for Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment (PreK-5). Ms. Corrente has a Bachelors in English and Secondary Education from Southern Connecticut State University and earned a Masters in Teaching, a 6th Year in Literacy, a Certificate in Remedial Reading and Language Arts Specialist, and a Certificate in Administration and Supervision from Sacred Heart University. Her professional certifications include Grades 1-12 Remedial Reading and Remedial Language Arts (CT 102), Grades 7-12 English (CT 015) and K-12 Intermediate Administration or Supervision (CT 092). 

Rob de Andrade, Jr. has been a member of the Teaching & Learning Department since 2023. He began his teaching career as a secondary school mathematics and science teacher for Danbury Public Schools and Hartford Public Schools. He joined Stamford Public Schools as a Mathematics Coach at Rippowam Middle School in 2014 where he taught math intervention courses, coached teachers, and served on the SRBI and school data teams. He served as Administrative Intern at Rippowam from 2020 to 2021 and as Assistant Principal at Rippowam from 2021 to 2023. de Andrade has a Bachelors in Mathematics and a Masters in Earth and Planetary Science from Western Connecticut State University and a Sixth Year Certificate in School Administration from Sacred Heart University. His professional certifications include Grade 7-12 Mathematics (CT 029) and  K-12 Intermediate Administration or Supervision (CT 092).  

Kerriann Duffy Boucher has been an Assistant Director of Special Education for Stamford Public Schools since 2022, and has been with the district since 2001 in a variety of roles including Speech Language Pathologist, Individual Learning Needs Coach, SRBI Support Teacher, and IEP Compliance Support Teacher. She was also the Head Teacher for the district’s Special Education Extended School Year Program (ESY) for nine years. Mrs. Duffy Boucher has a Bachelors in Speech Language Pathology and Audiology from Iona College, a Masters in Speech Language Pathology from Southern Connecticut State University, and completed an Intermediate Administrator and Supervisor Certification Program at the University of Bridgeport. Her professional certifications include Speech and Language Pathologist (CT 061) and K-12 Intermediate Administration or Supervision (CT 092).
Mary Enright was the SPS Coordinator of Summer School and Extended Day Programs from 2022 to 2024, a TOSA for K-12 Tiered Support in 2021-22, and a Spanish Native Language Support teacher at Toquam Magnet Elementary School from 2015 to 2021. Before joining the Stamford Public Schools, Ms. Enright was the K-12 ELL Coordinator for Torrington Public Schools from 2009 to 2015, an Associate in Bilingual Education and Foreign Language for the New York State Department of Education from 2005 to 2007, and was an EL Teacher, Middle School Coach, and Teacher Leader for New York City Public Schools from 1999 to 2005. She has a Bachelors in English and a Masters in Education/TESOL from Fordham University and Certificate of Advanced Study in School Administration from Bank Street College. Her professional certifications include National Board Certification in English as a New Language, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CT 111), Grades 7-12 History and Social Studies (CT 026), Grades 7-12 Spanish (CT 023), Grades 1-6 Elementary (CT305), Middle School English (CT 215) and K-12 Intermediate Administration or Supervision (CT 092).

Dr. Laura Greene began her education career in 1992 as a TESOL Teacher and Reading Specialist for Unified School District (USD) #1 within the State of Connecticut Department of Corrections. She was named CEA Region 1 Teacher of the Year (2007) and later served as USD #1’s Assistant Principal (2012-2014) and Principal (2014-2016). She joined Stamford Public Schools as the Coordinator of Alternative Education, serving in that role from 2016 to 2022. She was named Coordinator of Talent Development in the SPS Human Resources Department in 2022. Dr. Greene earned a Bachelors in Elementary Education from Southern Connecticut State University, a Masters from Southern Connecticut State University, a 6th Year Certification in Intermediate Administration from Sacred Heart University, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Management from Capella University. She has professional certifications in Pre K-8 Elementary Education (CT 001), 1-12 Remedial Reading and Language Arts (CT 102), K-12 Reading and Language Arts Consultant (CT 097), Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CT 111), and K-12 Intermediate Administration or Supervision (CT 092).

Shana Halsey began her teaching career with New Haven Public Schools as a 2010 Teach for America Connecticut Corps Member where she was a PreK teacher at Helene Grant Head Start School and was a Special Education Teacher at Jettie S. Tisdale, a PreK-8 Public School in Bridgeport, from 2016 to 2019. She joined Stamford Public Schools as a Special Education Teacher with APPLES in 2019 and remained in that role until 2022 when she became an IEP Compliance Teacher serving seven SPS elementary schools. Ms. Halsey has a Bachelors in Political Science and a Masters in Special Education from Sacred Heart University, where she also completed advanced graduate studies in Educational Administration and Supervision. She is certified in PreK-12 Comprehensive Special Education (CT 165) and Integrated Early Childhood/Special Education, Birth–Kindergarten (CT 112) and holds an Intermediate Administration and Supervision (CT 092) certification. 

Oleg (Alec) Iogman began his teaching career at Westover Magnet Elementary School, where he taught first, second, and fifth grade from 2005 to 2013. He was the SPS Curriculum Associate for K-5 Mathematics from 2013 to 2015 and the Administrative Intern at Westover from 2015 to 2019. He returned to the Teaching & Learning Department as Curriculum Associate for K-12 Science in 2019 and has been Coordinator of Technology Integration since 2021. Alec has a Bachelors in Elementary Education and American Studies from Skidmore College, and both a Masters in Elementary Education and a Sixth Year Degree in Administration and Education Leadership from the University of Bridgeport. He has professional certifications in K-6 Elementary Education (CT 013)  and K-12 Intermediate Administration or Supervision (CT 092).

Jonathan Kolman has 20 years of experience as a teacher and grade level leader in Stamford Public Schools. He began his teaching career at Northeast Elementary from 2004 to 2017 where he was a classroom teacher, grade level leader, Title 1 Math Teacher, and served on the SPS mathematics curriculum committee. He was the district’s Curriculum Associate for K-12 Mathematics from 2018-2020 and returned to the classroom as a Grade 5 math and science teacher (2020-2021) and a Grade 6 math teacher and grade level leader at Strawberry Hill. Kolman earned a Bachelors in Management/Marketing from the University of Massachusetts, and both a Masters in Education and a Sixth Year Certification in Administration and Educational Leadership from the University of Bridgeport. His professional certifications include K-6 Elementary Education (CT 013) and K-12 Intermediate Administration or Supervision (CT 092). 

Cynthia Manifold-Dougherty has more than 20 years of experience in Stamford Public Schools, serving first as a K-2 Reading Interventionist, Special Education Teacher, and Classroom Teacher from 2003 through 2015. She joined the Teaching & Learning Department as Curriculum Associate for Professional Development (English Learners) in 2015 and was promoted to Coordinator of Professional Development in 2018. She has been the Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment (Elementary) since 2020. Ms. Manifold-Doughtery earned a Bachelors in Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism from the University of New Orleans; a Masters in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Southern Connecticut State University; and a certificate in Educational Leadership from Sacred Heart University.  She is certified in  K-6 Elementary Education (CT 013), Adult Education Teaching Non-English Speaking Adults (CT 088), PreK-12 Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CT 011) and Intermediate Administration or Supervision (CT 092). 

Meghan Osowiecki has been the Director of Special Education for Stamford Public Schools since 2022. She was Assistant Director of Special Education from 2018 to 2022 and an IEP Compliance Support Teacher for Westhill High School, Rippowam Middle School, and Scofield Magnet Middle School from 2015 to 2018. Earlier in her career she was a Special Education Teacher and a math and science teacher at Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis High School in New York City and Thomaston High School in Thomaston, CT. Ms. Osowiecki has a Bachelors in Mathematics from Boston College, a Post Graduate Certification in Special Education from Southern Connecticut State University, a Masters in Education from University of Phoenix, and completed an Administrators Preparation Program at the University of Connecticut. Her professional certifications include Grade 7-12 Mathematics teacher (CT 029), PreK-12 Comprehensive Special Education (CT 165), and K-12 Intermediate Administration or Supervision (CT 092).

Jonathan Panzer has been Assistant Director of Special Education and Related Services since 2012. Prior to becoming a special education administrator, Jon was the Special Education Team’s Out of District Placement Coordinator from 2008 to 2012 and a Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) for Assistive Technology from 2006 to 2008.  He began his career as a Special Education Teacher in 2005.  In addition to his work in Special Education, Mr. Panzer is a nationally certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), a CT-certified EMS Instructor, and an American Heart Association certified BLS/CPR Instructor. Panzer has a Bachelors in Psychology from Western Connecticut State University and completed both a Masters in Special Education and post masters studies in assistive technology and communication at Southern Connecticut State University. His professional certifications include PreK-12 Comprehensive Special Education (CT 165) and Intermediate Administration or Supervision (CT 092). 

Brooke Pelli has been with APPLES since 2017 where she has served as a School Readiness Teacher, Grade Level Leader, and Technology Professional Development Leader. Prior to joining SPS, Ms. Pelli was a First Grade Teacher at Lindley Academy Charter School and also served two years as a Teach for America Corps member. Ms. Pelli earned a Bachelors in Early Childhood Education from the University of Delaware and a Masters in Urban Education from the University of Pennsylvania. Her certifications include Remedial Reading & Remedial Language Arts (CT 102),  Reading & Language Arts consultant (CT 097), Integrated Early Childhood/Elementary Education N-3 and Special Education N-K (CT 113), and K-12 Intermediate Administration or Supervision (CT 092 ).
Michelle Phillips began her career in education as a member of the NYC Teaching Fellows Program where she taught middle school mathematics and later worked as a high school math teacher at White Plains High School. She joined SPS as a math teacher at Dolan Middle School in 2010 and moved to Stamford High School in 2014 where, in addition to teaching, she served on various middle and high school math curriculum committees. She was hired as an Acceleration Coach at Rippowam Middle School in 2022, working with teachers to develop methods to accelerate student learning. She has a Bachelors in Marketing from the University of Pennsylvania, a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Michigan, and a Masters in Math Education from the City University of New York. She is a CT-certified Grade 7-12 Mathematics teacher (CT 029).

Cheryl Poltrack has been with Stamford Public Schools for more than 40 years and has extensive experience in special education, general education, technology education, and grants management. She began her career as a Special Education Teacher at and later worked as a Fifth Grade Teacher at Rogers International School and as a Computer Technology and AVID Teacher at Dolan Middle School. She moved to the District office in 2008 as a Teacher on Special Assignment / Curriculum Associate of NCLB where she coordinated various grant programs with an emphasis on providing all students with access to technology. She has been the Director of Innovative Programs, Enrichment, and Supplemental Programs since 2010. In this role, she oversees, coordinates, and manages all grant-funded programs for Stamford Public Schools. She has a Bachelors in Special Education from Southern Connecticut State University, a Masters in Special Education from Fairfield University, a Sixth Year Certificate in Elementary Education and a Certificate in Educational Technology from Sacred Heart University, and a Certificate in Educational Leadership from the University of Bridgeport. 

Sherri Prendergast joins the Teaching & Learning Department from Turn of River Middle School, where she was Principal in 2023-24. Prior to Turn of River, Sherri was Principal of K.T. Elementary School from 2016 to 2023 and Assistant Principal of Westover Magnet Elementary from 2011 to 2016. She began her career at K.T. Murphy where she spent 19 years in a variety of teaching and coaching roles including Kindergarten Teacher, Fifth Grade Teacher, Reading Teacher, Internal Literacy Facilitator, Literacy Support Specialist, and Elementary Literacy Coach. Prendergast has a Bachelors in Elementary Education from the University of Dayton, a Masters in Elementary Education from the University of Bridgeport, and a Sixth Year in School Administration from the University of Connecticut. Her professional certifications include PreK-3 (CT 003), Middle Grades 4-8 (CT 006), and K-12 Intermediate Administration or Supervision (CT 092).

Sandra Schwoerer has been a TOSA for English Learner Professional Development and Coaching since 2022 and also was a TOSA for Professional Development/Tiered Support from 2019 to 2020. Schwoerer began her tenure with SPS as a Teacher of English as a Second Language at Scofield Magnet Middle School from 2013 to 2019 and was a Secondary Literacy Support Specialist at Turn of River Middle School from 2021-22. Prior to joining SPS, she was an ESL instructor and specialist at the University of Connecticut American Language Program from 2008 to 2013. She began her teaching career as a Peace Corps Volunteer teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL) at a rural middle school in Thailand and facilitating teacher training for the Thai Ministry of Education. She also worked as an EL Teacher at James Monroe High School in the Bronx as a Peace Corps Fellow. Schwoerer has a Bachelors in English from Fordham University, a Masters in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from Columbia University Teachers College, and a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Scranton. She is certified in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages PreK-12 (CT 111).

Adam Scianna joins the Teaching & Learning Department from Stamford High School, where he was a mathematics teacher from 2011 to 2018 and most recently the Director of the Early College Studies Program which is a partnership between SHS and CT State Community College Norwalk that enables students to simultaneously earn a high school diploma and an associates degree in computer science. Adam has both a Bachelors and Masters in Civil Engineering from the University of Connecticut and a Sixth Year Certification in Administration and Educational Leadership from the University of Bridgeport. His professional certifications include Grades 7-12 Mathematics (CT 029), Grades PreK-12 Technology Education (CT 047), and K-12 Intermediate Administration or Supervision (CT 092).

Tracy Stuart began her career as a Special Education Teacher at public schools in Atlanta, GA, Lilburn, GA, and Salt Lake City, UT. She joined Stamford Public Schools in 2002 as an elementary Special Education Teacher and later worked as a private contractor, providing reading and math instruction to support IEP goals to students in public and private school settings before returning to Stamford in 2016.  She was the Special Education Literacy Support Specialist for Secondary from 2016 to 2022 and the TOSA for K-12 Tiered Support/Data from 2022 to 2024. Tracy earned a Bachelors in Education / Special Education from The Ohio State University, completed the TESOL Endorsement Program through Weber State University, and earned a Masters in Curriculum & Instruction, with a minor in Reading Intervention,   from Concordia University. She is currently enrolled in the Sixth Year program in Educational Leadership at Central Connecticut State University. She is a CT certified Grades 1-12 Comprehensive Special Education teacher (CT 265).

Yasmin Tirado, a graduate of Stamford Public Schools, was the TOSA for EL Professional Development and Coaching from 2022 to 2024. Prior to joining the central office, she was a K-5 EL Teacher and EL Team Leader at Northeast Elementary School from 2015 to 2021. She began her teaching career as a Bilingual Kindergarten Teacher at Rogers International School, where she also was a Special Education Teacher for eight years.  Yasmin has been with the Stamford Public Schools for the past 24 years. When she started working for the SPS she was at Rogers as an Administrative Assistant and Parent Facilitator while completing her teaching degree. She has a Bachelors in Science from the University of Bridgeport, a Masters in Special Education from Fairfield University, and a Sixth Year Certificate in Educational Leadership from the University of Bridgeport. Her professional certifications include Grades K-12 Special Education (CT 165), PreK-12 Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages TESOL (CT 111) and K-12 Intermediate Administration or Supervision (CT 092).

Colleen Weiner joined Stamford Public Schools in her current position in 2022. Prior to working in Stamford, Weiner was Assistant Principal (2006-2012) and Principal (2012-2022) at Middletown High School in Middletown, CT and also worked as a school administrator at New Hanover High School in Wilmington, NC, West Brunswick High School in Shallotte, NC, and Enfield High School in Enfield, CT. She began her teaching career as the Chorus and Orchestra Director at Torrington High School, later serving as the Middle School Orchestra Director for South Windsor Public Schools and the K-12 Music Coordinator for Enfield Public Schools. She has a Bachelors in Music from the State University of New York at Fredonia, a Masters in Educational Leadership from Central Connecticut State University, and a Masters in Administration and Supervision from Sacred Heart University. She is certified in K-12 Intermediate Administration or Supervision (CT 092).
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TOR Front Entrance
Kim Kempton

Dr. Mark Bonasera Named Principal of Turn of River Middle School
Sandra Ehlers Named Interim Principal of Roxbury Elementary
Francesca Sikorski Named Interim Assistant Principal of Roxbury

Superintendent Dr. Tamu Lucero has announced the following administrative changes effective immediately:

  • Dr. Mark Bonasera: Principal, Turn of River Middle School
  • Sandra Ehlers: Interim Principal, Roxbury Elementary School
  • Francesca Sikorski: Interim Assistant Principal, Roxbury Elementary School

“Dr. Bonasera is a well-respected educator with more than 20 years of K-12 administrative experience in urban school districts including Stamford, Norwalk, and New York City,” said Dr. Lucero. “Through steady leadership, communication, and collaboration, Mark led the transformation of Roxbury Elementary School into the welcoming, safe, and inclusive school community that it is today. We are thrilled that Mark has agreed to return to his secondary school roots as Turn of River’s Principal, where I know he will engage all stakeholders to improve the school climate.”

Dr. Bonasera replaces Sherri Prendergast, who has been named Director of Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment for Stamford Public Schools, reporting to Chief Academic Officer Amy Beldotti. As a Director in the Teaching & Learning Department, Mrs. Prendergast will oversee development and implementation of PreK-5 curriculum and assessments in all content areas as well as professional learning opportunities in support of high-quality classroom instruction.

To ensure a smooth transition at Roxbury Elementary, Assistant Principal Sandra Ehlers and Administrative Intern Francesca Sikorski have been appointed Interim Principal and Interim Assistant Principal, respectively, for the 2024-25 school year. “With 10 years of experience as an assistant principal in three different school communities, Sandra Ehlers is well-prepared to assume the leadership at Roxbury Elementary,” said Dr. Lucero “Sandra’s leadership skills, special education expertise, and strong relationships in the Roxbury School Community make her the natural choice to succeed Dr. Bonasera.” 

“Francesca Sikorski is a passionate educator with a deep knowledge of elementary literacy,” said Angela Asaro, Associate Superintendent, Elementary Schools. “She continuously seeks new ways to improve instruction and to tailor instruction to a student’s needs, qualities that will help her support Roxbury’s teachers as Assistant Principal.”

Dr. Mark Bonasera began his teaching career as a grade 7 humanities teacher at NYC DOE Intermediate School 74 as part of the Teach for America Corps program, and later taught English Language Arts at both Marta Valle Model High School and Health Opportunities High School (NYC DOE Public School X670). He became the Grade 9 House Leader at Health Opportunities High School in 2002 and was the school’s Assistant Principal from 2004 to 2009. He was Assistant Principal at West Rocks Middle School in Norwalk from 2009 to 2011. He joined Stamford Public Schools as Principal at Julia A. Stark Elementary in 2011 and was appointed Principal at Roxbury Elementary in November 2014. He has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Fordham University; a Master of Arts in English Language and Literature from the University of Virginia; and both a Masters and Doctorate in Educational Administration from New York University. He is certified in K-12 Intermediate Administration or Supervision (CT 092).

Sandra Ehlers began her career as a Special Education Teacher at Stillmeadow Elementary School, later moving to K.T. Murphy Elementary where she served as the IEP Compliance Teacher and SRBI Support Teacher. She was Assistant Principal at Cranbury Elementary School in Norwalk from 2014 to 2018 and Assistant Principal at Toquam Elementary School in Stamford from 2018 to 2021. She has been the Assistant Principal at Roxbury for the last three years. Ehlers earned a Bachelors in Special and General Education from Providence College; a Masters in Early Childhood Special Education from Southern Connecticut State University; and a Certificate in Educational Administration and Supervision from the University of Bridgeport. She is certified in K-12 Intermediate Administration or Supervision (CT 092).  

Francesca Sikorski was a classroom teacher at Stillmeadow Elementary School from 2011 to 2021. She moved to Norwalk Public Schools as a Literacy Coach at Marvin Elementary School in 2021 and returned to Stamford as the Administrative Intern at Roxbury Elementary in 2023. She has a Bachelors in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Connecticut and both a Masters in Teaching with a Literacy Concentration and a Sixth Year Degree in Literacy and Language Arts Consulting from Sacred Heart University. Mrs. Sikorski recently completed coursework for a Sixth Year Certificate in Educational Administration and Leadership from Sacred Heart University She is certified in K-6 Elementary Education (CT 013); K-12 Reading and Language Arts Consultant (CT 097), and Grades 1-12 Remedial Reading and Language Arts (CT 102). She has completed the application process for K-12 Intermediate Administration or Supervision (CT 092) certification. 

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SPS Announces Assistant Directors of Early Childhood Development
Kim Kempton

Superintendent Dr. Tamu Lucero is pleased to announce that Cynthia Manifold-Dougherty and Brooke Pelli have been named Assistant Directors of Early Childhood Development & Intervention in the Stamford Public Schools Teaching & Learning Department.  Ms. Manifold-Doughtery and Ms. Pelli will report to Kendra Brown, Director of Early Childhood Development & Intervention, and will have offices in the Early Childhood Education Center at APPLES.

“A quality early childhood education experience sets children on a path to become successful students and lifelong learners, yet nearly one third of the students entering Kindergarten in our District have no reported preschool experience,” said Dr. Lucero. “As we continue to collaborate with the City and our community partners to ensure all Stamford children have access to a high-quality early childhood education experience, Cynthia and Brooke will be integral to this effort.”  

In their new roles, Ms. Manifold-Dougherty and Ms. Pelli will be instructional leaders working together with Mrs. Brown to support Stamford Early Childhood Initiatives. They will work directly with more than 350 students who attend APPLES PreK and will provide guidance and support to more than 80 other Early Childhood Programs city-wide to help ensure all Stamford children are prepared to make a successful transition to kindergarten. 

“Cynthia’s deep knowledge of elementary curriculum and assessment, coupled with her experience in special education and her work with Multilingual Learners, will be a tremendous asset to the District’s Early Childhood Education efforts,” said SPS Chief Academic Officer Amy Beldotti. “This role also enables Cynthia to  return to a school setting where she can further expand her leadership experience as a building administrator.” 

“Brooke’s expertise in early childhood education and her deep knowledge of the APPLES program make her a natural fit for this role,” said Mrs. Brown. “Brooke has dedicated her career to supporting Early Childhood Education. She has participated in all aspects of APPLES programming and is ready for the next step as an administrator.”

Ms. Pelli will assume her new role immediately. Ms. Manifold-Doughterty will transition to her new role when her current position is filled.  

Cynthia Manifold-Dougherty has more than 20 years of experience in Stamford Public Schools, serving first as a K-2 Reading Interventionist, Special Education Teacher, and Classroom Teacher from 2003 through 2015. She joined the central office as Curriculum Associate for Professional Development (English Learners) in 2015 and was promoted to Coordinator of Professional Development in 2018. She has been the Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment (Elementary) since 2020. Ms. Manifold-Doughtery earned a Bachelors in Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism from the University of New Orleans; a Masters in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Southern Connecticut State University; and a certificate in Educational Leadership from Sacred Heart University.  She is certified in  K-6 Elementary Education (CT 013), Adult Education Teaching Non-English Speaking Adults (CT 088), PreK-12 Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CT 011) and Intermediate Administration or Supervision (CT 092), 

Brooke Pelli has been with APPLES since 2017 where she has served as a school readiness teacher, grade level leader, and technology professional development leader. Prior to joining SPS, Ms. Pelli was a first grade teacher at Lindley Academy Charter School and also served two years as a Teach for America corps member. Ms. Pelli earned a Bachelors of Early Childhood Education from the University of Delaware and a Masters in Urban Education from the University of Pennsylvania. Her certifications include Remedial Reading & Remedial Language Arts (CT 102),  Reading & Language Arts consultant (CT 097), Integrated Early Childhood/Elementary Education N-3 and Special Education N-K (CT 113), and K-12 Intermediate Administration or Supervision (CT 092 ).
 

2022-2027 Pillars for Success
Kim Kempton

Superintendent Dr. Tamu Lucero recently provided the Stamford Board of Education with an update on Vision 2025, which is the roadmap created to ensure that the District achieves the goals outlined in the 2022-2027 District Strategic Plan. Introduced in May 2023, Vision 2025 defines the framework, supports and assessments being implemented from 2023 to 2025 in support of the district's five strategic pillars: 

  1. Strong Curriculum
  2. Student Centered
  3. Community Focused
  4. Culture of Inclusion
  5. Operational Excellence

During the recently completed 2023-24 school year, SPS accomplished the following in support of Vision 2025 and the 2022-2027 District Strategic Plan: 

 

  • As part of the District’s comprehensive, three-year curriculum project, developed and implemented new, gold star standard curriculum as follows: (Strong Curriculum
    • English Language Arts: Kindergarten; Grades 6-12
    • Mathematics: Grades 6-8; Grade 9 (Integrated Math I)
    • Science: Grades 6-8; High School Biology; High School Chemistry
    • Social Studies: Grades 6-8 and High School World History I & II, High School Civics I & II and High School US History I & II
    • World Language: Level 1 courses for Spanish, Italian and French
  • Restructured roles and responsibilities of the Associate Superintendents so that each associate would oversee a single level - elementary, middle, or high school. (Student Centered; Operational Excellence)
  • Initiated Instructional Leadership & Development program for building administrators to ensure all students are receiving, and that educators have the training and support to provide, rigorous, Tier 1 instruction. (Strong Curriculum; Student Centered; Operational Excellence)
  • Collaborated with the Stamford Education Association and Stamford Administrative Unit to create a Professional Growth, Development, and Evaluation Plan. (Operational Excellence)
  • Successfully converted more than 80% of District grant applications, generating $194,107,416. (Operational Excellence)
  • Initiated a strategic restructuring of the Teaching & Learning Department to support curriculum, instruction, and assessment from PreK through Grade 12. (Strong Curriculum; Student Centered; Culture of Inclusion; Operational Excellence)
  • Implemented a comprehensive Early Kindergarten Admission Program through which hundreds of prospective kindergarten students were assessed for early admission in compliance with the State of Connecticut’s new Kindergarten Age Requirements that go into effect on July 1, 2024. (Student Centered; Culture of Inclusion; Operational Excellence)
  • Developed and implemented online curriculum dashboards for teachers, administrators, and families and  a professional development dashboard for teachers and administrators. (Strong Curriculum; Operational Excellence)
  • Formalized plans for SPS Welcome Center to be located at Cloonan Middle School (Community Focused; Culture of Inclusion
  • Partnered with the PT Council to relaunch SCOPES - the Stamford Coalition of Parents Expecting Success - a parent support network and community resource on special education issues. (Student Centered; Culture of Inclusion; Community Focused

As the District looks ahead to the 2024-25 school year, central office functions will be further refined as follows in support of the 2022-2027 District Strategic Plan: 

  • Responsibility for legal compliance initiatives, BOE policy and regulation implementation, school safety, investigations, and mandated reporting will be centralized under the new role of Chief Compliance Officer, reporting jointly to the Superintendent of Schools and the City of Stamford. (Operational Excellence)
  • Oversight for the District’s Special Education Program will move to the Teaching & Learning Department led by Chief Academic Officer Amy Beldotti. This move will consolidate all departments with responsibility for curriculum, instruction, and assessment under Teacher & Learning. (Strong Curriculum; Student Centered; Operational Excellence; Culture of Inclusion)
  • Human Resources, Recruitment & Retention, Adult Education, and Access & Opportunity will be part of the new Family and Staff Resource Department.  (Community Focused; Culture of Inclusion; Student Centered; Operational Excellence)

The following staff reassignments, which are cost neutral, will take effect July 1, 2024 in support of the above: 

  • Chris Soules from Executive Director, Human Resources to Chief Compliance Officer; 
  • Dr. Michael Fernandes from Associate Superintendent for Student Support to Chief Family and Staff Resource Officer; 
  • Dr. Lori Rhodes from Associate Superintendent for Access & Opportunity to Associate Superintendent, High Schools; 
  • Matthew Laskowski from Executive Director for School Innovation to Interim Associate Superintendent, Middle Schools; and 
  • Dr. Rebecca Wilson, Coordinator of College & Career Readiness, to Interim Executive Director, Access & Opportunity (formerly School Innovation).  
Superintendent's Weekly Message - June 28, 2024
Jennifer Gonzalez

Dear Staff and Families,

Congratulations to our high school students who completed their first week of summer school and others who have been trained and now are working around the city in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors through the Mayor’s Youth Employment Program.

Next Monday we will welcome our elementary students back to summer school.  We also want to acknowledge our community-based organizations that are hosting summer programs for our students.

Finally, a special thanks to all of the teachers and staff that are spending part of their summer break teaching and leading programs.  

Reminder: Annual Physicals Required for Grades K, 6, and 9

Students entering kindergarten, 6th and 9th grades in Fall 2024 are required to have a recent annual physical on file with Stamford Public Schools. Please bring this form to your child’s medical appointment so it can be completed for the school nurse. If your child does not have a healthcare provider they see regularly, click here for a list of providers that offer school entry physicals.

Family Fun Activities

Please take some time each week to check out what family fun activities are being hosted this summer at the Ferguson LibraryStamford Downtown or at Mill River Park.  Each organization offers various family friendly events throughout the year.  It is definitely worth a look each week to see what’s happening.  

In fact, Saturday might be a great time to join SPS at the Stamford Downtown Farmer’s Market where we will have a guest reader at 10:15 a.m. at Veterans Memorial Park (130 Atlantic Street).  You could make a day of it by stopping in the Ferguson Library to pick up a couple of books, before heading over to Mill River Park to read as a family.

Summer Reading

Not just on Saturday, but all Summer is the ideal time to read as a family.  Not only does it assist with helping students avoid the summer academic slide, but it also reduces unhealthy screen time. 

As a family, set a summer reading goal and work together to encourage one another.  Reading is an excellent way for families to spend quality time together.  Visit the Ferguson Library and reread an old favorite, find a new book to read, and enjoy!

Summer Meals

Summer meals will be available again this year for all students 18 years of age or younger.  Students may pick up meals at the following locations:

●       SPS Summer School Sites: Rippowam, Rogers, Stillmeadow, Strawberry Hill, and Westhill.

●       Stamford Parks & Rec Summer Camp Sites: Cloonan, Davenport, Newfield, and Roxbury

●       Community Sites: Cloonan, Rippowam and Rogers

Filling in the Blanks Weekend Meals

It is not too late to sign up for the Filling in the Blanks weekend meal program. If your student is in need of free weekend meals, please register by clicking here.

Also, just a quick reminder that Filling in the Blanks food pantry visits Stamford on the 3rd Saturday of each month at Cloonan Middle School rear parking lot.  The following are the summer dates:

●        July 20, 2024

●        August 17, 2024

If you are in need of this service at this time, please plan to attend between 8:30am-10:30am

If you are interested in learning more about this amazing organization or are interested in volunteering please contact volunteer@fillingintheblanks.org.

Kindergarten Registration

Children who live in Stamford and turn five years old on or before September 1, 2024, are eligible to begin kindergarten in August.  Please encourage anyone with an eligible child to register as soon as possible. Click here for more information.

Summer Weekly Message Break

Please note that this is the final official Superintendent Weekly Message for the 2023-2024 academic year.  The Weekly will take its annual month hiatus for the month of July.  Our next edition will be published beginning in August.  Enjoy the summer news break!

Stay Safe and Healthy!

Dr. Tamu Lucero

Superintendent

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APPLES

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The APPLES Program is: Age-Appropriate Peers Playing, Learning, & Exploring in School.

School of Distinction

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 Apples won a School of Excellence Distinction award for having the first PTA in a preschool in CT.

Early Childhood Education

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APPLES Early Childhood Educational Center offers three different programs to support students 3-5 years old.