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March 2017
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EASTCONN’s Center for Educational Leadership Enters 3rd Year of Supporting School Leaders

Now in its third year of supporting the region’s school leaders, EASTCONN’s Center for Educational Leadership (CEL) continues to grow as it helps educators coordinate new initiatives, advance their professional practice and improve student outcomes. 

EASTCONN established the CEL in 2014, in response to the increasing demands being placed on school leaders. The Center was designed to help them build sustainable, district-wide systems that embed effective, distributed-leadership systems in programs and schools ranging from early childhood to grade 12. 

Diane Dugas, CLC DirectorAnd now, the CEL has named a new Director: Diane Dugas. 

 “We’re very pleased that Diane has joined CEL and the EASTCONN team,” said Scott Nierendorf, EASTCONN’s Director of Teaching and Learning. “Her knowledge, experience and engaging interpersonal style make her a great choice for advancing the goals of CEL, as we work to support our region’s education leaders.” 

 “I’m proud to be part of CEL’s mission, and am very excited about working with the region’s school leaders,” said Dugas, a respected, longtime Connecticut educator. “I look forward to continuing to help them connect, network, learn and share as we collaborate to improve student outcomes.” 

Backed by years of experience, Dugas’s thoughtful coaching style sparks collegial dialogue that moves action plans forward.

 “We need to create space for candid exchanges,” Dugas said. “That’s when we get the work done. Then the challenge of leadership is to work through the forest of initiatives to find what is meaningful and sustainable …  and return to the heart of why we’re here in the first place, which is to put students first.” 

The CEL provides customized, on-site and/or remote access to its professional learning options. CEL-led communities of practice and embedded coaching help school leaders with: aligning their practice through strategic planning; leadership coaching; professional development; educator evaluation; building school philosophy, policy, practice and structures; and with non-instructional needs, like creating strong school-community connections. 

“Diane, who has held a variety of district positions, from superintendent to principal to special education teacher, is perfectly positioned to continue the work of EASTCONN’s CEL,” said Nierendorf. 

Dugas holds a sixth-year and an Executive Leadership Program certificate from UCONN. She also has a master’s in special education and a bachelor’s in elementary and special education. She’s an education consultant for numerous state agencies and organizations. 

Other EASTCONN education specialists working with the CEL include Mary Anne Butler, Ray Grasso, Linda Kauffman and EASTCONN’s Director of Early Childhood Initiatives, Diane Gozemba.CEL’s former director, Amy Drowne, left the CEL in June. “Ultimately, our goal is to help northeastern Connecticut school leaders find joy and satisfaction and inspiration in their work,” Dugas said. 

Learn more about the work of EASTCONN’s CEL by contacting Diane Dugas at 




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