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EASTCONN Welcomes Gary S. Mala as its New Executive Director


EASTCONN is pleased to announce that Gary S. Mala has been named EASTCONN’s new Executive Director, succeeding Paula M. Colen, who retired at the end of September after 37 years with the agency. 

Colen had led EASTCONN as Executive Director since 2005. 

“I’m delighted that Gary will be EASTCONN’s next executive director,” said Colen. “I’m confident that EASTCONN will be in good hands under Gary’s leadership, as the agency continues to serve the education needs of northeastern Connecticut’s schools and communities.” Mala was selected after a national search.

 “I am both humbled and honored to have been selected as EASTCONN’s next Executive Director,” said Mala. “I look forward to assisting and supporting the outstanding work of all of our staff. My work will be to continue the tradition of excellence associated with EASTCONN, and to help our districts manage the wide continuum of challenges facing them today.” 

Until last month, Mala was superintendent of Avon public schools, a position he had held since 2011. He previously served as superintendent of schools for Region 17, and was superintendent for Southwick-Tolland Regional School District in Massachusetts. During his 34-year career in education, Mala has been a high school principal, elementary principal and pupil services director. He has also taught regular and special education at the elementary level and special education at the high school level. 

He completed his doctoral level work at both the University of Hartford and Nova Southeastern University, and earned his superintendent certification and Sixth Year Diploma in Educational Leadership from Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU). He holds a combined master’s degree from SCSU in special education and educational leadership, and has bachelor’s degrees in both elementary and special education from Central Connecticut State University (CCSU). 

Mala was recently awarded the Presidential Award from the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS) and he is currently an adjunct professor in the Educational Leadership Department at Quinnipiac University, specializing in graduate level school finance.

Mala has a strong record of advocating at the state legislative level on behalf of schools and communities. He was appointed to U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty’s (5th District) STEM Advisory Council, and currently chairs the Council’s Education Subcommittee.

Mala and his wife reside in New Britain. They have two grown daughters. 

To reach Gary Mala, email him at gmala@eastconn.org, or call 860-455-1565.