Andrew Lachman, Executive Director
The Center’s Executive Director, Andrew Lachman, came to the Center in 2000 after serving for 13 years as one of the senior advisors on policy and program development and director of external affairs to former superintendents Anthony J. Alvarado and Elaine Fink in Manhattan’s Community School District 2. He played a key role in that district’s implementation of standards-based education reform. Mr. Lachman assisted the superintendent in developing and managing innovative educational programs, professional development initiatives for improving teaching and learning, and strategies for enhancing school leadership. Mr. Lachman has overall responsibility for the Center and its operations and programs.
Richard Lemons, Deputy Director
Richard Lemons has a long history with the Center. He facilitated the SIIP Network for several years and coordinated curriculum and teaching for the Urban School Leaders Fellowship in Fairfield County. Richard comes to the Center with experience as a teacher, change coach, literacy coach, university professor, and policy advocate. Over the last fifteen years of his career, Richard has focused on supporting districts in large-scale instructional improvement and leadership development. Richard has served as associate director of the Harvard Change Leadership Group, director for UConn’s Institute for Urban School Improvement, and faculty member of the department of education leadership at UConn. Most recently, Richard was vice president for k-12 policy and practice at the Education Trust. He received a bachelor’s in political science from North Carolina State University and master’s and doctorates in administration, planning, and social policy from Harvard.
Laura Boutilier, Program Coordinator
Laura Boutilier comes to the Center after eight years as Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction in Rocky Hill. Prior to Rocky Hill, she served as principal of two middle schools, one of which was cited as a U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon Award for Excellence middle school. In 1993 Laura was recognized as Middle School Principal of the Year by the CT Association of Schools. She was president of the CT Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and served as adjunct faculty at the University of Connecticut and St. Joseph College. As program coordinator, Laura works directly with selected school districts partnering with the Center on systemic instructional improvement and instructional rounds. She co-facilitates the Urban School Leaders Fellowship program in Fairfield County.
Peter Cummings, Associate Program Coordinator
Peter Cummings is the associate executive director of LEARN. He continues his work with the Connecticut Center for School Change as the facilitator of the LEAD Connecticut Turnaround Principal Program. He served as a high school teacher, high school and middle school administrator, and upper elementary principal in the Farmington Public Schools, and most recently as the principal of Conard High School in West Hartford. Under his leadership, Conard was ranked among the top 1% of high schools in the country by US News and World Report. Peter’s leadership has focused on systemic and sustainable development of school structures, professional learning systems, and instructional practices that support equity and achievement for all students. He has led professional learning with the League of Innovative Schools and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and has served as an adjunct professor in the University of Connecticut Administrator Preparation Program. Peter holds a Bachelor’s in English from the College of the Holy Cross, a Masters in Teaching from Fairfield University, and a Doctorate in Curriculum and Teaching from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Roberta Kurlantzick, Program Coordinator
Roberta Kurlantzick comes to the Center with over thirty years experience in school leadership and school improvement. Prior to joining the Center’s staff, she served as principal of two schools in Farmington. During her tenure there, she was selected as a Connecticut National Distinguished Principal. Since her retirement, Roberta has been consulting with school districts and the State Department of Education on aspects of school improvement. As program coordinator, Roberta works directly with school districts that are partnering with the Center on systemic instructional improvement and co-facilitates a network of central office and school leaders.
Kerry Lord, Program Coordinator
Kerry Lord serves as the coordinator for the coaching program for recently-appointed school principals in New Haven. Prior to coming to the Center, Kerry served as principal of two elementary schools in Aurora, Colorado; was the director of the Rocky Mountain School of Expeditionary Learning in Denver; and consulted for the Colorado Department of Education and Educators for Social Responsibility. She comes to the Center with training from the National Institute for School Leadership, Breakthrough Coaching, and Facilitative Leadership.
Patrice Nelson, Program Coordinator
Patrice Nelson joined the Center in September, 2003. Previously, Ms. Nelson served as a facilitator to nine Higher Order Thinking (HOT) Schools throughout the state. She also worked half-time for the Suffield School district as a district-wide coordinator. Earlier, she served as facilitator for the Understanding by Design curriculum for the Capitol Region Education Council. She began her teaching career in the Albuquerque public schools and worked for several school districts in Connecticut. Ms. Nelson provides technical assistance and coaching to districts working on systemic instructional improvement and is the co-developer of the Parents Supporting Educational Excellence curriculum.
Isobel Stevenson, Program Coordinator
Isobel Stevenson comes to the Center with eleven years’ experience in school leadership, including 9 as a middle school principal in the Boulder Valley School District, Colorado. She then moved into district leadership, spending four years as chief academic officer. Since leaving that post, Isobel has taught in the principal preparation programs at the University of Denver, San José State University, and now UConn. She has extensive experience in coaching, is a professional certified coach through the International Coach Federation, has a PhD in human and organizational development, and consults with organizations in leadership development and coaching models. She joins the Center to support the Center’s coaching and leadership development work, including the LEAD Connecticut coaching program for turnaround principals.
Leslie Torres-Rodriguez, Program Coordinator
Leslie joins the Center’s staff from CREC, where she served as principal of Great Path Academy and the Public Safety Academy. At the Public Safety Academy, she executed a turnaround strategy plan that involved changes in staffing, school climate, operations, intervention programming, teacher leadership development, and professional learning. She previously worked for Manchester Public Schools as Director of Career and Technical Education, and Assistant Principal/Director of the Freshman Academy at Manchester High School. She has a Bachelor in Human Development and Master of Social Work degrees from the University of Connecticut, and her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Central Connecticut State University. She served as a school social worker in New Britain and adjunct professor at Capital Community College from 2000 to 2008. Prior to her work at the secondary school level she held management and leadership positions in community-based organizations serving urban youth and families.
Carol Darr, Office Administrator
Carol comes to the Center with an extensive background in administrative management, executive support, fiscal management, and fundraising. Prior to joining the Center’s staff, Carol served as Assistant Director of Corporate, Foundation and Government Relations at Trinity College pursuing grant opportunities from government and private sources in support of the College’s key priorities. Carol received a B.A. in Women’s Studies from Trinity College. She will focus on administrative operations, grant administration, and office management in support of the Center’s programs.
Theresa Benjamin, Executive Assistant
Terri comes to the Center with experience in both the corporate and not-for-profit sectors. She served as executive assistant for 17 years to senior management at Dinex International. Prior to Dinex, she worked for three years as office manager and events coordinator for the Bushnell Performing Arts Center. As executive assistant, Terri is responsible for providing administrative support to the executive director and program staff in all areas of the Center’s work, including office management, operations, finance, fund raising, public relations and communications.