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State Board of Education Members

The State Board of Education consists of thirteen members, at least two of whom have experience in manufacturing or a trade offered at the Technical High School System, one with a background in vocational agriculture and two nonvoting Grade 12 student members. The Governor appoints, with the advice and consent of the General Assembly, the members to the Board. The eleven voting members are appointed to four-year terms, and the student members are appointed to one-year terms. The Commissioner of the Department of Higher Education serves as an ex officio, nonvoting member. The State Board of Education recommends to the Governor the appointment of the Commissioner of Education, who serves as the secretary to the Board for a term coterminous with that of the Governor.

Allan B. Taylor, Chairperson — Hartford

Allan B. Taylor was reappointed to the Board by Governor Dannel P. Malloy in 2013 and has served as the chairperson of the Board since 2005. Mr. Taylor recently retired as the legislative and legal advisor to the Hartford City Council, after 37 years in the private practice of law.  He has an extensive record of public service in the Hartford community. He earned an A.B. from Harvard College; an M.P.P. from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Mr. Taylor has served on the Board since 1994, and serves as chair of the Finance, Audit and Budget Committee. Mr. Taylor was elected as the Northeast Area Director of the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) in 2014-15 and 2008-09, president elect of NASBE (2010), and served as NASBE president in 2011. In recognition of his significant accomplishments and contributions to public education at the local, state and national levels, Mr. Taylor was selected by NASBE as a recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Service Award. His term expires in February 2017.

 

{Allan B.Taylor Chairperson}

Theresa Hopkins-Staten, Vice Chairperson — West Hartford

Theresa Hopkins-Staten was reappointed to the Board by Governor Dannel P. Malloy in April 2013 and serves as the vice chairperson of the Board. She is the director of Connecticut Regulatory Affairs for Eversource, working with Connecticut regulators on policies, practices and procedures that affect Eversource’s Connecticut electric and gas companies. For 11 years, she served as senior counsel and assistant corporate secretary for Northeast Utilities. She also serves on the boards of numerous business, education and community organizations and has received numerous recognitions for her leadership in the community. She is chair of the Urban League of Greater Hartford Board of Directors, the immediate past chair of United Way of Connecticut Board of Directors, a member of the St. Francis Foundation Board of Directors, and is active in University of Connecticut Alumni Affairs. Mrs. Hopkins-Staten earned a B.A. and J.D. from the University of Connecticut, and an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Goodwin College. Mrs. Hopkins-Staten chaired the National Association of State Boards of Education Study Group on Teacher Preparation, Evaluation, Continuation and Compensation. A member of the Board since 2005, she chairs the Legislation and Policy Development Committee and is a member of the Academic Standards and Assessment Committee of the State Board of Education. Her term expires in February 2017.

{theresa hopkins_staten}

Erin D. Benham Wallingford

Erin D. Benham was reappointed to the Board by Governor Dannel P. Malloy in February 2015.  She serves on the Board’s Accountability and Support Committee and the Legislation and Policy Development Committee. She has taught in Meriden Public Schools for 36 years and is president of the Meriden Federation of Teachers and executive committee vice president of AFT Connecticut. She also serves on the board of directors for Project Excel and The Sisters' Project. She earned a bachelor's degree from Saint Joseph College and a master's degree and educational leadership degree from Southern Connecticut State University. Mrs. Benham was the recipient of the President's Award by AFT Connecticut in 2013. Her term expires in February 2019.
 

{Erin_Benham}

Erik M. Clemons — New Haven

Erik M. Clemons was appointed to the Board by Governor Dannel P. Malloy in 2015. Mr. Clemons is the founding chief executive officer and president of the Connecticut Center for Arts and Technology Inc. (ConnCAT), an organization that prepares youth and adults for educational and career advancement through after-school arts and job training programming in the areas of health sciences and culinary professions, and links adult learners with local corporate partners. Prior to that, Mr. Clemons served as the executive director of the Leadership, Education, and Athletics in Partnership, Inc. and as the director of career technical training for the New Haven Job Corps Center in New Haven. He is the president of the board of the Housing Authority of New Haven and is a member of the board of Connecticut Voices for Children.  Mr. Clemons received a B.S. degree in sociology from Southern Connecticut State University and a M.A. in theology and ethics from Hartford Seminary. Mr. Clemons’ term expires in February 2020.
 
{Erik M. Clemons}

William P. Davenport — Litchfield 

William P. Davenport was appointed to the Board by Governor Dannel P. Malloy in 2015. Mr. Davenport is the director of the Ellis Clark Regional Agriscience and Technology Program and has served as an agriscience teacher at Nonnewaug High School in Woodbury since 1986. He was selected as Connecticut’s Teacher of the Year in 2004, and has served on the Teacher of the Year Council since 2005. Mr. Davenport received numerous awards as a teacher and advocate for agricultural education, and is a member of the National FFA Organization Board of Directors, the Litchfield County Farm Bureau, and the Connecticut Farm Bureau. Mr. Davenport received a B.S. and M.S. in animal science from the University of Connecticut, and a sixth-year diploma in administration and supervision from Southern Connecticut State University. Mr. Davenport’s term expires in February 2020.

 

{William P. Davenport}

Terry H. Jones — Shelton

Terry H. Jones was reappointed to the Board by Governor Dannel P. Malloy in February 2015. He has extensive experience in agriculture, having been a lifelong resident of the seven-generation Jones Family Farms in Shelton. He has run his 400-acre farm business for 50 years. He is the vice president of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station Board of Control, and a member of the Shelton Economic Development Commission. In addition, Mr. Jones serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board at the UConn College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. A passionate spokesperson for land conservation, he serves as chairman of CT Working Land's Alliance, a wide coalition advocating for farmland preservation and healthy food. Mr. Jones is a leader in a coordinated school health initiative sponsored by the National Association of State Boards of Education, and serves on a broad-based committee to advance the development and implementation of policies to improve nutrition and the health of students. Mr. Jones earned a bachelor’s degree in plant science from the University of New Hampshire. He is a member of the Legislation and Policy Development Committee of the State Board of Education. His term expires in February 2019.

{Terry Jones}

Amina S. Lampkin — West Hartford

Amina S. Lampkin was appointed to the Board by Governor Dannel P. Malloy in July 2016 as one of two nonvoting student members. Amina is a senior at William H. Hall High School in West Hartford. She is an active participant in Voices of the Other, an afterschool club that works to enhance students’ community awareness and decrease ignorance. Ms. Lampkin served as the Student Council president for the fall 2015 Senate Page School and earned a Citizenship Award for her participation. She attended the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts from 2013-15, where she concentrated in dance and received the 2014 Emerging Artist Award. She served as an apprentice and intern in arts administration and dance during the summers of 2014 and 2015 under Capital Workforce Partners and the Artists Collective Inc. Following graduation in 2017, Amina plans to major in journalism or public relations with a minor in African-American studies. Her term expires in June 2017.

 

 

Estela López — East Hartford

Estela López was reappointed to the Board by Governor Dannel P. Malloy in February 2015.  In January 2015, Dr. López was appointed Interim Provost of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System, and served in that capacity through June 2016. Prior to that, she served as a senior associate with Excelencia in Education. She is the former vice chancellor of academic affairs of Connecticut State University, serving from 2002 to 2007. From 1997 to 2002, Dr. López served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Northeastern Illinois University. Dr. López has received numerous awards, including the Connecticut Hispanic Bar Association 2008 Achievement Award and the 2006 Latina Citizen of the Year Award. She chairs the Board’s Accountability and Support Committee and served on the Ad Hoc Committee on Accountability. Dr. López earned a bachelor’s degree from Queens College, and both a master’s degree and Ph.D. in Spanish literature from Columbia University. Her term expires in February 2019.

{Estela Lopez}

Maria I. Mojica — Hamden

Maria Mojica was reappointed to the Board by Governor Dannel P. Malloy in February 2015. She serves on the Board’s Legislation and Policy Development Committee. Presently, Ms. Mojica is vice president of fund development at Continuum of Care Inc. Her priority is to establish a fund development department. Ms. Mojica served as vice president for programs at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving from 2009-13, where she managed the areas of nonprofit support, education and workforce investments, and strategic planning. She operated a private consultant business serving nonprofit clients from 2006-09. Before that, Ms. Mojica served as the senior program officer for the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund, where she managed the foundation’s first child and community initiative. From 1989-94, Ms. Mojica served as the executive director of Bridgeport Futures Initiative, providing direction on improving conditions for children and families. Ms. Mojica is involved in several civic endeavors, including the Greater New Haven Community Foundation and the United Way. Ms. Mojica serves on the national board of the Center for Assessment and Policy Development. She received a B.A. and an M.P.H. from Yale University. Her term expires in February 2019.

{Maria I. Mojica}

Mark E. Ojakian, Ex Officio — West Hartford

Mark E. Ojakian was appointed by the Board of Regents for Higher Education in September 2015 to serve as president of the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities (CSCU) System and serves as an ex officio, nonvoting member of the State Board of Education.  As president of CSCU, Mr. Ojakian oversees 12 community colleges, four state universities and Charter Oak State College.  Prior to being appointed president of CSCU, he served as chief of staff to Governor Dannel P. Malloy.  Mr. Ojakian has also served as deputy secretary of the Office of Policy and Management and as deputy comptroller in the Office of the Comptroller, where he supervised more than 250 employees and over $1 billion in state accounts.  Earlier in his public service career, Mr. Ojakian served as the special advisor to the commissioner of the Department of Higher Education.  He received a bachelor’s degree in history from St. Anselm College in New Hampshire and a master’s degree in international relations from the American University in Washington, D.C. 

 

{Mark E. Ojakian}

Coral L. Ortiz — New Haven

Coral L. Ortiz was appointed to the Board by Governor Dannel P. Malloy in July 2016 as one of two nonvoting student members. Coral is a senior at James Hillhouse High School in New Haven. A student in Hillhouse’s Public Safety and Health Academy, Ms. Ortiz has earned the Highest Achievement Award in math, science, and English. She was elected by the school district as one of two student members to serve on the New Haven Board of Education (June 2015 to present). She is a peer advocate and volunteers at Griffin Hospital in Derby, at a support group for children with special needs, and at her local parish. Ms. Ortiz attends the Educational Center for the Arts, where she concentrates in theater. Coral enjoys serving on the Yale-New Haven Urban Debate League and participating in several internships in the medical research field. She also is the founder and leader of the Peer Tutoring Club for English Language Learners. Following graduation, Coral plans to major in political science and pursue a career in policy. Her term expires in June 2017.

 

{Coral L. Ortiz}

Malia K. Sieve — Norwich

Malia K. Sieve was appointed to the Board by Governor Dannel P. Malloy in 2015. Ms. Sieve is a director at HCM Strategists in Washington, D.C., where she works with system and institutional leaders from regional universities and community colleges and elected officials on higher education goal setting, monitoring, and policy development in states across the country. Prior to her current job, Ms. Sieve worked as an independent consultant for HCM Strategists and for AEM Corporation, where she provided policy direction on strategic planning and developing data systems to improve outcomes. She also served as associate director for policy and research for the Connecticut Board of Regents of Higher Education, director of the United Way of Connecticut Community Results Center, and project director of the Connecticut Policy and Economic Council. Ms. Sieve received a B.S. degree from the University of Connecticut, School of Family Studies, and a M.S.W. from the University of Connecticut, School of Social Work. She served on the Norwich (CT) District Data Team and on the Huntington School Governance Council (Norwich, CT). Ms. Sieve’s term expires in February 2020.

 

{Malia K. Sieve}

Robert J. Trefry, Ex Officio — Fairfield

Robert Trefry was appointed by Governor Dannel P. Malloy as chair of the Connecticut Technical High School System Governing Board in October 2012, and serves as an ex officio, nonvoting member of the State Board of Education. He served as the chair of the State-appointed Bridgeport Board of Education from 2011 to 2012. Mr. Trefry is the retired president/chief executive officer of Bridgeport Hospital and executive vice president of the Yale New Haven Health System.  He is a Columbia University certified executive and organizational coach, and currently is an executive and organizational coach with PathQuest Coaching and Consulting. He currently serves on the boards of the United Way of Coastal Fairfield County, Connecticut Association of Boards of Education, and the Bridgeport Regional Business Council. Mr. Trefry has an undergraduate degree in industrial and systems engineering from Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Georgia, and a master’s degree in healthcare administration from the School of Business at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He is a life fellow of the American College of Health Care Executives and a member of the International Coaching Federation.

{Robert Trefry}

Joseph J. Vrabely — Glastonbury

Joseph J. Vrabely Jr. was reappointed to the Board by Governor Dannel P. Malloy in 2015. He is a member of the Legislation and Policy Development Committee of the State Board of Education. He served as chair of the Connecticut Technical High School Committee and as the vice chairperson of the Connecticut Technical High School System Board. Mr. Vrabely is president and co-owner of Atlantic Steel & Processing LLC, a company he started from the ground up in 2000.  For the first 19 years of his career, Mr. Vrabely worked at Ryerson Steel, the largest metals distribution company in the United States.  Mr. Vrabely hosts a monthly talk show, “Manufacturing Matters,” that he started 11 years ago, and is engaged in numerous education, civic and manufacturing advocacies. Mr. Vrabely is a board member and serves on the executive committee of the Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board, is a past board member of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, past president of the Smaller Manufacturers’ Association, and past trustee of the Educational Foundation of the Precision Metalforming Association. He earned a B.S. in business, management and administration from Indiana University. His term expires in February 2019.

{Joseph J. Vrabely}

Dr. Dianna R. Wentzell — Commissioner

Dr. Dianna R. Wentzell has been an educator in Connecticut for over 25 years. She was appointed as Commissioner of Education by Governor Dannel P. Malloy in April 2015, after serving as Interim Commissioner since January 2015. Dr. Wentzell began her career in education as a social studies teacher and later as a teacher for gifted students. Before her appointment as interim commissioner, she served as the State Department of Education’s chief academic officer, overseeing the Bureau of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, and the Standards Implementation Division. Before joining the Department, Dr. Wentzell served as assistant superintendent of schools in Hartford, and in district leadership positions with a focus on curriculum, instruction, and assessment in both South Windsor and the Capitol Region Education Council (CREC) magnet schools. Dr. Wentzell has a bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College, a master’s degree from the University of Massachusetts–Amherst, and a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Hartford. As Commissioner of Education, Dr. Wentzell serves as the secretary to the State Board of Education.

{Dianna Wentzell}

Stephen P. Wright — Trumbull

Stephen P. Wright was reappointed to the Board by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in February 2015. He serves as chairperson of the Academic Standards and Assessment Committee and is a member of the Finance, Audit, and Budget Committee. He is an attorney with Berchem, Moses and Devlin, P.C., with offices in Milford, Westport, and Norwalk. Prior to that he was a principal in the law firm of Goldman, Gruder & Woods, LLC. Mr. Wright currently serves on the Government Affairs Committee of the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE). Mr. Wright served as chair for the Trumbull Board of Education and as a member for two terms from 2004 to 2012. In 2009, he received the Bridgeport Regional Business Council’s Educational Impact Award. His record of public service includes volunteering as the chair of the Trumbull Special Needs Building Committee and chair of the Trumbull Land Preservation Committee, and serving on the Trumbull Town Council, Executive Committee of the Regional Youth Adult Social Action Partnership (RYASAP), and as a board member of the Bridgeport Public Education Fund Inc. Attorney Wright received a certificate of appreciation from the chief judge of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Connecticut for his pro bono service on behalf of indigent clients in 2012 and is a member of the Volunteer Attorney Program assisting clients with mortgage foreclosures. He received the Bruce Fraser Friends of Social Studies Award, Connecticut Association of Social Studies Teachers, 2014. Mr. Wright received an undergraduate degree from Florida State University and a law degree from Western New England College. Mr. Wright’s term expires in February 2019.

{Stephen Wright}
Statutory Charge and Responsibilities

Section 10-4 of the Connecticut General Statutes assigns to the Board responsibility for "... general supervision and control of the educational interests of the state, which interests shall include preschool, elementary and secondary education, special education, vocational education and adult education..." Section 1 of Public Act 97-290 amended the definition of "educational interests of the state" by including the following language: "In order to reduce racial, ethnic and economic isolation, each school district shall provide educational opportunities for its students to interact with students and teachers from other racial, ethnic, and economic backgrounds..." The Board establishes education policy, prepares legislative proposals, sets academic standards for teachers and students, administers a $2.45 billion annual general fund budget and provides leadership and support services to Connecticut's 149 local and 17 regional school districts. It also serves as the board of education for the 17 regional technical high schools.

State Board of Education Priorities

The Board’s priorities are described in its five-year plan, A Superior Education for Connecticut’s 21st Century Learners –2006-2011. The plan states the Board’s rationale for selecting these three priorities, and actions the State will take to achieve expected outcomes in each area.

  1. High-quality preschool education for all students;
  2. High academic achievement of all students in reading and writing, mathematics and science; and
  3. High school reform.

If you require further information, please contact:

Office of Board Matters: pamela.charland@ct.gov

Connecticut State Department of Education
165 Capitol Avenue - Room 301
Hartford, CT 06106
Telephone: (860) 713-6510





Content Last Modified on 8/15/2016 9:53:54 AM