CAS Names 2022 Schools of the Year

Cheshire (CT) — The Connecticut Association of Schools (CAS) is pleased to announce the selection of the 2022 Elementary and Middle Schools of the Year. Rarely has CAS named two schools in the same district during the same year. However, this year, we are recognizing two of the Bristol Public Schools. In addition, both schools are being recognized for their Exemplary School Climate Practices. CONGRATULATIONS to:

  • Ellen P. Hubbell Elementary School in Bristol, Connecticut – Kristine DeLeo, Principal
  • Greene-Hills School in Bristol, Connecticut – Scott Gaudet, Principal

Each year, applications are accepted for the Elementary and Middle Level School of the Year Awards. The winners are chosen by the CAS Awards Committee, a selection committee consisting of active and retired principals and assistant principals.

The detailed application process includes attention to curriculum, instructional practices, school climate and safety, community involvement, and student success. Finalists were selected based on their applications. Once selected, the finalists’ schools were visited by the CAS Awards Committee. During the site visits, interviews were held with the school principal and/or administrative team, faculty and staff, central office administration, parents, and students. Classes were observed and scores of documents were examined. At the conclusion of the visits, the committee members deliberated over their findings and declared the winning recipients based on all of the evidence.

Upon learning about Hubbell and Greene-Hills being named the 2022 CAS Elementary School of the Year and Middle School of the Year, respectively, Superintendent Dr. Catherine Carbone stated: “We are super excited for both the Hubbell staff and Greene-Hills staff. They have really shown the best of our profession throughout the past two years!”

One of the shared strengths of these schools was the safe and positive school climate and student supports in place to ensure the physical, social, emotional, and academic success for all students. Dr. Carbone explained, “In Bristol Public Schools we ask that our staff know every student by name, strength, story, and need. The staff and faculty from Greene-Hills and Hubbell exemplify this focus.” The Awards committee can attest to this from the artifacts on the walls and throughout the tours as students were greeted in the hallways by name, often with a personal message and/or encouragement.

Dr. Carbone stated, “We could not have been more proud of Greene-Hills School and Ellen P. Hubbell School when we received the news. We were even more excited to learn that both schools were also recognized as Exemplary School Climate Award recipients. We cannot wait to share best practices and programs with other CAS member schools and further highlight what makes Bristol Public Schools a special place to learn and grow.”

“For both schools to be named Schools of the Year, in the same year, is an incredible honor,” Dr. Carbone continued. “It goes without saying that our students, families, teachers, administrators, and staff from both school communities are well-deserving of this prestigious recognition. They continue to demonstrate what is best about our district and public education at large.”

The Connecticut Association of Schools is excited to recognize both Greene-Hills and Hubbell Schools for their exemplary school climate practices and award the 2022 CAS Middle School of the Year Award to Greene-Hills School and the 2022 CAS Elementary School of the Year Award to Hubbell School. CONGRATULATIONS!


Greene-Hills School has distinguished itself from among 127 eligible middle school member schools to be named the 2022 Middle School of the Year. Although Greene-Hills is a Pre-K–8 school, the focus of its nomination and the CAS Award Committee’s site visit was on the middle school grades 5-8. That being said, Greene-Hills would not be the exemplary school it is without the positive school climate and culture, high quality teaching and learning, and strong leadership across the entire school. Greene-Hills School is clearly an exemplary school in many ways, and this honor and distinction have been well earned by not only the middle school grades but the entire Greene-Hills school community.

Principal Scott Gaudet was ecstatic when he received the news. He said, “I couldn’t be more proud of our school! This recognition just validates and celebrates all of the hard work our students and staff put forth every day. Combine that with the phenomenal support we receive from our parents and central office, and that makes Greene-Hills a very special school!”
Dawn Killiany, Grade 6 Science Teacher, echoed the sentiment saying, “It’s an incredible honor for our students to know they are a part of something bigger than themselves. We have Gator pride and to have others across the state see why is an amazing feeling!”

The CAS Award Committee was duly impressed with the outstanding work going on at Greene-Hills School. From the warm and inviting welcome that continued throughout the school tour and conversations with key stakeholder groups, the committee was wowed by all the positive messages throughout the school symbolizing the positive culture and climate. The students definitely take ownership and pride in everything about their school. The identity and diversity work is clearly demonstrated by learning activities such as “The Best Part of Me,” extra-curricular clubs and activities, and opportunities for students to share their voices including morning announcements. Every student reported feeling safe, welcome and included, and had at least one caring adult they could go to, talk with, trust, and gain support from. Most impressive was how each group we spoke with (i.e., parents, students, faculty and staff, district and school administrators) spoke highly of being members of the Greene-Hills School family. We commend the school for being a “family first environment” in which they lead with their hearts while making student-centered decisions.

As Behavior Interventionist Matt Jose stated, “The winning of this award is a culmination of hard work and dedication from students, families and staff alike. Every single person who is a part of the GHS family, no matter how small or large their role may seem, owns a part of this honor. Our strength and success is due to the fact that we all subscribe to the same philosophy: every child is capable of success, no exceptions!”

The passion and dedication among the administration, faculty and staff are consistently and purposefully aligned and implemented from the district down and the school up, as exemplified by the collaborative district and school work to achieve a shared mission, vision, and goals. Throughout the visit, each stakeholder group consistently complimented the leadership and shared vision of Greene-Hills. The show of support by the community and the parental knowledge and involvement with school programs, especially the Watch D.O.G.S (Dads of Great Students) and the PTA, was notable. Leadership is shared and encouraged as teachers feel supported and listened to, and have a voice in decision-making through district and school committees, teamwork, and regularly scheduled and as needed “huddles.” Very impressive was the work that Greene-Hills faculty are engaged in and their willingness to open their doors to visitors (as much as Covid has allowed) to share what they are doing while at the same time striving to grow and continuing to learn with and from others.

“What an honor to be named CAS Middle School of the Year,” stated Special Education Teacher Christine Heimgartner. She continued, “The Greene Hills School team is dedicated to the success of all of our students, pre-k to 8. This award is recognition of the commitment of our staff and the positive impact our families and the larger Bristol community have on the lives of children. We are all connected and we are stronger together!”


Ellen P. Hubbell Elementary School, home to the Hubbell Hounds, has set itself above the other eligible 387 elementary schools in Connecticut this year by establishing high expectations and a positive climate that provides inclusivity and equity among all of its students.

When Principal Kristine DeLeo learned that Hubbell School had been named the 2022 CAS Elementary School of the Year, she said, “I am so proud of my Hubbell Hounds. Our school is a family and we truly live by the statement that ALL MEANS ALL. Our staff, scholars, and families continuously collaborate to reach our goals which leads to our success in and out of the classroom.”
Cindy Ahern, a third grade teacher added, “We are so excited to be the CAS Elementary School of the Year! We have worked so hard and our staff and students excelled even through a pandemic. Hubbell School is a family and this award acknowledges our great accomplishments. I am so proud to be a part of the Hubbell community.”

Dr. Carbone said, “The energy and joy at Hubbell School are palpable, from the morning announcements and throughout the school day! Mrs. DeLeo and her Hubbell staff are committed to ensuring their students develop skills to promote their agency as lifelong learners.”

The members of the CAS Awards Committee saw this in action from the moment they entered the school. Visitors and students alike are engulfed with the Hound theme, beginning with Hubbell’s Hound Mascot, Oreo, the Hound Logo found on T-shirts and other school items, to the BARK Code (Be Kind, Always Persevere, Respect Yourself and Others, and Keep Safe), and even Bark Bones that can be spent at the BARKMART! Throughout the school you feel the synergy from everyone working together and truly living their motto, “ALL MEANS ALL” with purpose and passion. As Principal DeLeo explains, “It is our reason and motivation for teaching. We know that given the proper tools, support, and environment, ALL students can achieve and learn to their full potential.” And, as they strive to accomplish this goal they are seeing the results of their efforts.

Hubbell is a Title One school with the highest poverty rate in Bristol Public Schools, yet its students have outperformed the District and State Averages on SBAC and other assessments. The school begins with Maslow’s hierarchy to ensure that students’ needs are met physically, emotionally, socially, and cognitively so that they are able to successfully achieve academically. Dr. Carbone shared with us that, “Earlier this year, Hubbell Elementary School was recognized for its Outstanding School Culture from Peardeck. What is notable about this recognition is that teachers must nominate their school. A quote from the application speaks to why Hubbell was recognized for this honor. ‘Ellen P. Hubbell School is so much more than an elementary school. EPH is a family. Our teachers and staff work together to make our students feel loved, protected, and empowered.’”

There are many SEL supports in place such as PBIS strategies, a Crisis Team and Behavior Intervention Team along with on-site Wheeler Clinician to facilitate the use of social emotional learning in all classrooms and at home. Every student is able to identify one or more “caring adults” with whom they feel a strong connection and the school celebrated with a “Hound Caring Adult Day.” As a result of the strong SEL support and other academic student support services, including targeted interventions through a WINN program (What I Need Now), teachers acknowledge that “students are empowered to never give up hope because we all believe that every student is important and is loved at our school.” The discipline and academic formative and summative assessment data support the school’s shared beliefs and clearly demonstrate that students are closing gaps and achieving learning goals. In addition, in 2017-2018, there were 47 in-school and out-of-school suspensions. For the past two years there were zero in- or out-of-school suspensions.

Data walls are prevalent throughout the school with on-going analysis by teacher teams. It is an integral part of the daily work at the school. From Hubbell School’s Leadership Team meetings to regularly scheduled meetings with math and literacy coaches to informal “huddles,” teachers are constantly reviewing student data to pinpoint students who may require enrichment and/or intervention support to meet their individual and targeted learning needs. Not only do the faculty and staff collaborate regularly as a school team, but as Dr. Carbone explained, “Mrs. DeLeo has also ensured her staff continues their learning while they support soon to be educators through a partnership with Central Connecticut State University School of Education serving as a school site laboratory. This commitment to continuous learning and improvement is a hallmark of Hubbell Elementary School.”

Teacher Lindsay Gagnon summed it up this way saying, “Hubbell School is such a tight knit community of educators, scholars, and families that put our students at the center of all that we do. We are so grateful to have been chosen for this prestigious award. I am honored to be a part of a school family where all children achieve no matter what.”

Principal DeLeo, agrees and stated on behalf of the entire school community, “We are truly honored to receive this award and look forward to reaching even greater success in the future.”

This special recognition for Elementary School of the Year and certification for exemplary school climate practices can be found on the CAS website. Click here for more information about exemplary climate practices; and click here for more information on the School of the Year Awards.

By Dr. RoseAnne O’Brien Vojtek, Assistant Executive Director