CAS Celebrates Top School Leaders

On Thursday, October 26, 2023, CAS hosted its annual celebration of school leadership at Saint Clements Castle in Portland. This yearly event was established twenty-two years ago following a resolution by the CAS Board of Directors to find ways to recognize and pay tribute to individual school leaders as well as to promote the profession of school administration. These six outstanding school leaders were honored at this year’s event:

Rachael Caggiano, Derby Middle School
2023 Middle School Principal of the Year

Suzanne Coyne, Western Middle School, Greenwich
2023 Middle School Assistant Principal of the Year

Dr. Carolyn Gbunblee, Valley Regional HS, Region 4
2023 High School Asst. Principal of the Year

Arlette Johnson, Franklin Elementary School, Stratford
2023 Elementary School Asst. Principal of the Year

Dr. Keshia Smith-Davis, Great Plain Elem. School, Danbury
2023 Elementary School Principal of the Year

Kristen St. Germain, Wheeler HS/MS, N. Stonington
2023 High School Principal of the Year

More than one hundred sixty educators, friends, and family members packed the Waterford Ballroom at Saint Clements to join in honoring CAS’ 2023 Distinguished Administrators. Guests were greeted at the door with the stirring sounds of the Glastonbury High School Resident String Quartet directed by Nola Campbell.

John Holt, media director for CAS-CIAC, warmly welcomed guests and praised the accomplishments of the six honorees. “In the midst of declining resources, accountability pressures and the myriad demands of your profession, you bring innovation, inspiration and dignity to the work of educating our children,” said Mr. Holt.

CAS President Amy Yost, principal of Cook Hill Elementary School, extended warm and enthusiastic congratulations to the evening’s honorees, commending their behind-the-scenes efforts to create conditions that allow others to be successful. “These outstanding leaders foster a culture of learning, curiosity, and personal growth, setting the standards for excellence, integrity, and inclusivity,” said President Yost.

Dr. Charles Hewes, the state’s newly appointed Deputy Commissioner for Academics and Innovation, delivered heartfelt and inspiring remarks, congratulating the honorees and applauding their successes in an ever-changing and ever-challenging role.

Following the welcoming speeches, each of the six distinguished administrators was entertained with a short slideshow containing pictures and quotes from friends and colleagues. All honorees received a plaque, a book and, thanks to the generosity of Jostens, a custom-designed ring to commemorate their achievement.

Many thanks to our photographer, Peter Wright, from Lifetouch.