Leading & Learning

Staff

Diane Dugas
Diane Dugas
Director of K-12 and Leading & Learning
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Diane Dugas directs EASTCONN’s Leading and Learning division, as well as the agency’s two magnet high schools and its alternative high school. Formerly the director of EASTCONN’s Center for Educational Leadership, which she now also oversees, Diane was previously a superintendent of schools, an assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, a turn-around principal and a special education teacher. A lifelong educator, Diane has conducted doctoral research on the ways in which central office supports leadership capacity for transformational change. She holds a Sixth Year certificate and is a graduate of the UConn Executive Leadership Program. Diane specializes in leadership and talent development; social-emotional learning; competency-based, student-centered learning; and strategic planning. She also facilitates EASTCONN’s Regional Staff Development Council. To learn more about EASTCONN’s Leading and Learning virtual professional development opportunities, as well as embedded district professional learning or team facilitation across a range of K-12 academic fields and pedagogies, contact Diane at her email listed above. 
Kelly Francis
Kelly Francis
STEM Education Specialist and Mobile STEM Lab Coordinator
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
A former elementary school teacher and math coach, Kelly comes to EASTCONN well versed in STEM education. She has a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a master’s degree in Science and Mathematics Education. She is also trained in Project-Based Learning, through the Buck Institute for Education. She looks forward to working with you in bringing the Mobile STEM Lab to your school or district. 
David Howes
David Howes
Director of Talent Development
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Over the last 10 years, Director of Talent Development David Howes has served in a variety of roles as a school leader in Hartford and New London as well as for EASTCONN. During his 25-year career as a teacher, coach and school leader, David has worked with all grade levels (elementary, middle and high school); in traditional districts, magnet schools and charters; and in a variety of settings (urban, suburban and rural). As a result of his diverse professional experiences, David has deep knowledge of and enthusiasm for building learning communities that are student-centered, caring and collaborative. He has extensive experience and expertise in social and emotional learning practices, instructional and leadership coaching, student-engaged assessment practices, project-based curriculum development and implementation and personalized, competency-based learning.
Erin McGurk, Ed.D.
Erin McGurk, Ed.D.
Director of Talent Development
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Erin McGurk serves as part of the Leading & Learning team, bringing a rich background in educational leadership, professional learning, and curriculum, instruction, and assessment expertise. Prior to joining EASTCONN, Erin served as a district leader in Ellington and in Berlin, leading district improvement initiatives as assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. Erin began her career as a special education teacher in residential treatment for students with emotional and behavioral disorders and worked as a resource room teacher, co-teacher, and curriculum specialist in the West Hartford Public Schools. Erin has taught undergraduate and graduate courses at a number of local colleges and universities and currently teaches a course on Leadership for Inclusive School Communities in the University of Connecticut Administrator Preparation Program (UCAPP). In 2017, UCONN recognized Erin by awarding her the UCEA Excellence in Educational Leadership Award. Erin has a particular interest in equity-focused leadership, and a strong desire to support the creation of exceptional, student-centered learning communities for students and educators.
Gary Petersen
Gary Petersen
Education Specialist
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Gary is an education specialist who's been working in the field for over 25 years. He recently completed a six-year tenure as a Staff Developer at Columbia University’s Reading and Writing Project, where he provided instructional support and professional development to hundreds of teachers and students. He's travelled to China, Turkey, Canada and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for work on implementing workshop methods. He's run workshops on mentor texts, humor and joy in the writing workshop, read aloud, content area literacies, and the integration of technology in planning and practice of workshop. Gary is always interested in how to motivate the unmotivated learner, and is known for bringing humor and joy to the writing workshop. His goal within professional development sessions is to make the time spent both practical and pragmatic.
Monica Rivera
Monica Rivera
Administrative Secretary, Interdistrict and After School Grants
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Monica is an executive administrative assistant for the Leading and Learning division. She's a graduate of EASTCONN's Customer Service Academy, and began working at EASTCONN as an intern with the program. Monica provides support for the Interdistrict Grants team, assisting them in securing funding for student projects and programs. She also supports the Community Arts Connection After-School Program at Windham Heights. Monica's is the friendly voice that will most likely greet you when you call the EASTCONN Leading and Learning offices!
Kevin Segar
Kevin Segar
Community Arts Connection After School Program Coordinator
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Kevin Segar, a Science Specialist, is a 23 year veteran at EASTCONN currently serving as the site coordinator for the Windham Heights Afterschool Program in North Windham.  After teaching science for 10 years at EASTCONN's Northeast Challenge School in Brooklyn, CT he worked for 2 years as a Grant Coordinator for EASTCONN's Interdistrict Grants. He graduated from the University of Connecticut with a Bachelors Degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and subsequently worked for the Connecticut DEEP at the State Fish Hatcheries as an Ichthyology Intern.  He is currently a Senior Instructor with the DEEP CT CE/FS Education Program.  He promotes hands-on outdoor science inquiry utilizing the rich outdoor resources located on the Learning Center's property along the Natchaug River.
Esther Soffer
Esther Soffer
Interdistrict Grant Facilitator
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Esther joined the EASTCONN Interdistrict Grants Team over a decade ago as a grant facilitator. Today, Esther’s successful grant writing has won EASTCONN funding for multiple grants over several consecutive years. She oversees all aspects of Interdistrict Grants including the research, development, writing, implementation and facilitation of five highly successful grants across 14 EASTCONN partnering school districts. She has created community and partnerships across many school districts and with students of all backgrounds and abilities. Esther introduced Mindfulness and Social-Emotional Learning to her grant participants many years ago after training and certification in Mindfulness Practices and Education from UC Berkley’s Greater Good Science Center. In her work, she has trained and developed programming and workshops in the areas of Social Justice, Equity, Inclusion, Wellness, Resilience, LGBTQ+, Community Engagement and Teambuilding. As a Russian, child refugee and former YMCA counselor and administrator, Esther has spent her life working towards equity and inclusion for underserved and immigrant children and their families. It was at the Y that she developed her skills as an educator and team builder and established her love for generating excitement and building confidence in kids, teens and adults. Esther brings that same energy to everything she does with the teachers, students and families she works with. Her enthusiasm and curiosity for learning, traveling, painting, hiking, cooking, baking and photography help her connect and build relationships with others around shared interests and pursuits.  
Stephanie White
Stephanie White
Inderdistrict Grant Facilitator
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
Margaret Whiteley
Margaret Whiteley
Assistant to the Director of K-12 and Leading & Learning
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Meg is an Administrative Assistant with Leading and Learning, providing support to the Division Director as well as other Leading & Learning staff members. She graduated from QVCC with an Associate’s Degree in 2012 and moved to Pennsylvania after graduation. She spent 3 years there, attending Environmental Science courses at Eastern University and working for both the PA DEP, as well as an Environmental Consulting Firm. From there she moved to South Carolina, where she acquired considerable diverse and eclectic work experience, investing substantial time in non-profits across several service sectors. Most notably, she facilitated the development, promotion and implementation of new Farm Education programs, as well as budget management at an urban farm. Meg also supervised and supported adoption counselors and kennel staff, while training dogs and managing canine play groups at an animal shelter. She recently returned to her roots in eastern Connecticut and is excited to tackle her new role as an administrative assistant at EASTCONN. Meg is always willing to help and will eagerly welcome any conversation concerning education, the environment or animals.

Print