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.
Evette Avila, Program Coordinator
Evette Avila comes to the Center having taught at the elementary, middle school and college level and supervised staff as an assistant principal, principal and a national director of professional development. Most recently, she served as the New York City Regional Director for School Leaders Network, where she provided a dynamic learning environment that supported school leaders to become highly-effective change agents implementing sustainable systemic change that impacts teaching and learning. As the National Director of Professional Development at McGraw-Hill for Time to Know, she successfully implemented the Time to Know curriculum program in schools across the country. Prior to joining the staff, Evette was involved with the Center for School Change as a LEAD Connecticut coach and a faculty member for the UConn Aspiring Principal Residency Program.
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 co-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 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, Associate Program Coordinator
Leslie is an associate superintendent for the Hartford Public Schools. She continues her work with the Connecticut Center for School Change as co-facilitator of the LEAD Connecticut Turnaround Principal Program. Prior to joining the Center’s staff, she served as principal of the Public Safety Academy where she executed a strategic plan that involved changes in staffing, school climate, operations, intervention programming, teacher leadership development, and professional learning. 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. 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.
Susan Varuolo, Executive Assistant