Danielson, CT, July 10, 2018 – EASTCONN is pleased to announce that Mary K. Tshonas (formerly Knox) has been chosen to lead Quinebaug Middle College (QMC), an EASTCONN magnet high school located on the campus of Quinebaug Valley Community College (QVCC) in Danielson.
Tshonas succeeds former QMC Principal Gino LoRicco, who left to accept another position. Knox had been QMC’s interim principal since LoRicco’s departure. Prior to her work as interim principal, Tshonas was QMC’s assistant principal and dean of students.
“I am delighted to announce the appointment of Mary K. Tshonas as the next principal at QMC,” said EASTCONN Executive Director Gary S. Mala. “She brings an ideal professional background to her new leadership position and has clearly demonstrated a keen understanding of the school’s mission, students and staff. Her new role at QMC is well earned, and I look forward to supporting her student-centered work at QMC.”
Open since 2010, QMC is a public magnet high school for capable, goal-oriented northeastern Connecticut students in grades 9-12. Typically, QMC students are independent, self-directed learners who seek more control over their education program. QMC students can take free QVCC classes while attending QMC and earn their associate’s degree while still in high school; QMC is housed in a new, state-of-the-art wing at QVCC. QMC’s democratic learning community offers customized courses of study, daily advisory classes and weekly “town meetings.” QMC students also work in service to others through their Capstone Projects. Visit www.eastconn.org/qmc.
“QMC is a hidden gem,” said Tshonas. “What we offer to students in this region is unlike any other educational institution and I’m thrilled to be part of it. I’m looking forward to ensuring that our students have increased opportunities in the college realm and also in areas of certification, like those available through QVCC in health-related fields and manufacturing. I fully and firmly believe in the mission of QMC and its personalized learning environment, as well as its democratic learning community, where students have a voice and a choice. I also feel incredibly fortunate to have the staff that we do.”
Tshonas first joined QMC five years ago as the STEM instructional coach and data facilitator, roles that enabled her to further develop the school’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curricular and educational opportunities. During her tenure at QMC, Tshonas developed a variety of curricular materials, aligned assessments, authored Magnet Themed Units and honed programming for QMC’s diverse student body. Tshonas was a key planner and participant in QMC’s successful, years-long effort to obtain NEASC Accreditation, which was awarded last spring. (NEASC is an acronym for New England Association of Schools and Colleges.)
She continues to work with QVCC to develop programs that ensure QMC students are ready for the challenge and rigor of college classes at QVCC. This past year, QMC students who took advantage of the free QVCC enrollment option had a college-class passing rate of 95%.
Prior to joining EASTCONN, Tshonas was a teacher at Tolland Middle School, where she filled numerous roles. She taught sixth-grade, developed a new, inquiry-based science curriculum, designed formative and summative assessment tools for science content strands, helped design updated language arts and writing curricula, coached the girls’ softball team, acted as co-advisor of the Intermediate Student Government, and served as president of the Tolland Education Association.
Tshonas graduated from the University of Connecticut in Storrs with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Humanities (Anthropology and English). She obtained her master’s in Science Education, with distinction, from Eastern Connecticut State University. Tshonas earned her Connecticut Intermediate Administrator Certificate (092) Leadership through Sacred Heart University, and is currently working toward her Sixth Year Degree.
EASTCONN, which administers QMC, is a public, non-profit, Regional Educational Service Center that has been serving the education needs of northeastern Connecticut’s schools and communities since 1980. To learn more, visit www.eastconn.org.