BOE appoints new language arts coordinator
BOE appoints new language arts coordinator
Posted on 08/22/2014
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WEST HAVEN, Aug. 18, 2014 — A long-time educator from Regional School District 6 with vast leadership and classroom experience has been tapped as the West Haven Public School District’s new language arts coordinator, filling a position that opened in July due to a retirement.

The Board of Education at Monday night’s meeting appointed Colette Marie Bennett to the post, following the retirement of Ann Valanzuolo. As language arts coordinator, Bennett will oversee English, language arts and social studies curriculums, library/media center programs, and state testing for all nine West Haven Public Schools. She will be based in central office in City Hall, but will also be working in West Haven schools.

“Having gone to college nearby at Southern Connecticut State University, I’ve always wanted to teach in this area, and now I have the chance,” Bennett said. “I’m looking forward to meeting, helping and working with West Haven teachers. As a veteran educator, I know how much they have to do and how much they are responsible for, and I know good instruction is what makes the difference in learning.”

Bennett most recently served as chief academic officer for grades 7-12 in Region 6, where she oversaw curriculum, assessments, instruction and professional development for teachers. She incorporated technology and new web-based tools in all aspects of her job and worked with teachers to determine how the tools could improve instruction and better engage students.

A West Haven Board of Education hiring committee recommended Bennett for the job after conducting two cycles of the candidate search process, Superintendent of Schools Neil C. Cavallaro said.

“We’re excited to welcome Colette to the West Haven Public School district and think she will be a great addition to the team. We’re very impressed with her extensive background in curriculum development and her enthusiasm for technology and Internet-based resources that can give students new ways in school and at home to explore all that they’re learning in the classroom,” Cavallaro said.

Bennett has worked in Region 6 for the past six years, holding the position of chief academic officer for grades 7-12 for the past year and before that serving as the chairperson for the English and social studies departments. She worked as a teacher during her entire time with Region 6.

“I may come from a small district, but when you’re in a small district, you do every job,” she said, explaining that Region 6 accommodates students from Warren, Morris and Goshen in Wamogo High School, three elementary schools and a middle school, which is housed within Wamogo.

She has experimented with numerous online resources, including teacher websites and blogs, and guided teachers through the process of incorporating them into instruction. She also has her own blog and will be traveling Florence, Italy, in November to present at teacher workshops on blogging in education.

Her experiences are well documented through her blog, presentations and articles she’s written for educational groups, including one entitled, “How we moved our district from cows to computers” in a nod to the area’s rural character. Region 6 schools have used the BYOD—or bring your own device—policy for technology for the past three years.

Prior to working in Region 6, she taught at Brookfield High School, New Fairfield Middle School, and St. Joseph School in Brookfield. She also previously worked as the director of Recreation and Parks in Redding and Brookfield, but realized she was “suppressing” her true calling, she said.

Bennett received her undergraduate degree from Southern Connecticut State University and a Master’s in English from Western Connecticut State University, and has completed additional programs at Fairfield, Wesleyan and Sacred Heart universities.