CAS Hosts End-of-the-Year Reception

More than forty members attended CAS’ 63rd annual meeting on June 3rd, enjoying a short break from the chaos and craziness that inevitably erupt this time of year. Formerly a business meeting at which we discharged the duties and responsibilities required by our Constitution, this annual event has been transformed into a relaxing, end-of-the-year reception and awards ceremony.

The “re-invented” annual meeting carries over some important elements from the past such as the CAS President’s Report and the CAS Executive Director’s Report. In her remarks, CAS President Donna Schilke, principal of Smith Middle School in Glastonbury, described the many ways in which the association has been an invaluable professional resource for its members. “CAS has helped us as administrators to strengthen our leadership skills and strategies; provided camaraderie in sharing our stories as we worked through SBAC, SEED and teacher evaluation, and Common Core standards; allowed us to network so that we have colleagues and mentors we can call on whenever and for whatever we are facing in our schools; and, especially, listened to our input and viewpoints,” said Schilke.

In her executive director’s report, Karissa Niehoff identified the dramatic changes that have transpired since she was hired to lead CAS-CIAC five years ago and reflected on the angst and uneasiness that have accompanied those changes. “Anxiety and conflict aren’t all bad, and sometimes it is conflict itself that causes a greater commitment to establishing coherence; coherence within the right professional culture,” said Niehoff. “Perhaps at the end of the year, when levels of energy and expectations are polar opposites, a pause to consider these discomforts in a different way is a healthy thing to do.” Niehoff congratulated the administrators in attendance on their ability to manage the increasing complexity of their role with unshakable fortitude. “The ‘busy-ness’ of our business means that schools are working harder than ever to meet the needs of students, staff and families. Despite the added demands, however, the passion and dedication of educational leaders have arguably never been stronger,” praised Niehoff.

2015 Award Winners (clockwise from top right): Judy Abrams, Andre Hauser, Tom Malin, and Paul Newton

Niehoff concluded her remarks with a recap of the highlights of the 2014-15 school year, a year marked by programmatic expansion and continued efforts to strengthen the association’s influence on educational policy and practice.

Following Executive Director Niehoff’s remarks, President Schilke presented distinguished service plaques to outgoing board and committee members. These individuals have either reached the end of their term or are leaving prematurely due to retirement or promotion. This year, ten members were awarded plaques for their service (not all were in attendance):
• Missy Bavaro-Grande, East Granby Middle School
• Michael Barile, Chester Elementary School
• Rich Cavallaro, Principal, Bullard Havens technical High School, Bridgeport
• Ken Chichester, Northwest regional High School, Winsted
• Amy Clarke, Supervisor of Pupil Services and Special Education, Middletown
• Kristina Martineau, Valley Regional High School, Deep River
• Rita McDougald-Campbell, Trumbull High School
• Anthony Menard, East Hartford Middle School
• Tom Moore, Wethersfield High School
• Deborah Sullivan, Hall Memorial School, Willington

President Schilke also welcomed members who, in the coming school year, will be new to an elected committee or board position.
• New to the CAS Board of Directors are: Scott Leslie from RHAM High School, Anthony Menard from East Hartford Middle School and Jill Hale from Guilford Lakes School;
• New to the CIAC Board of Control is Linda Iacobellis from Bacon Academy;
• Bill Silva of Farmington High School and Keats Jarmon of Conard High School are joining the High School Board of Control;
• Ralph Mayo from Eastern Middle School is a new member of the Middle School Board of Control;
• Newcomers to the Elementary School Board of Control are Scott Jeffrey from Essex Elementary and Veronica Wilkison from North Stonington Elementary;
• The Connecticut Student Activities Board of Control welcomes Sherrod McNeill from Prendergast School in Ansonia;
• John Seiller from Memorial Middle School in Middlebury is assuming a spot on the Principals’ Center Board of Control;
• Mike Higgins of Bristol Eastern High School and Tiffany Caouette of Pleasant Valley School are joining the CAS Awards and Recognition Committee; and,
• The Eligibility Review Board welcomes Ted Kelleher from East Windsor High School and Sally Biggs from Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy.

The reception concluded with an awards ceremony honoring members who have made extraordinary and long-term contributions to the association. This year, four deserving individuals were selected to receive a CAS Letter of Commendation:Judy Abrams, director of choral music at Leonard Tyl Middle School; Andre Hauser, principal of Waterford High School; Tom Malin, athletic director of East Catholic High School; and, Victoria Reed, principal of Highland School in Wallingford. Unfortunately, Vickie was unable to be in attendance but will receive her award on a future occasion.

Enrico Fermi High School Principal Paul Newton was awarded a CAS Citation, the association’s highest honor. In presenting the award, President Schilke stated, “A powerhouse of energy and goodwill, you are one of the most dedicated, unselfish, passionate and committed leaders who will ever occupy a place in the association’s rich history. The magnitude of your contributions is inestimable both in scope and consequence and demonstrates an enduring dedication to our profession and to the leaders like yourself who commit themselves so fully to it.”

In honor of the annual meeting, each division was asked to prepare an end-of-the-year report reflecting its highlights for the 2014-2015 year. Those reports are available at the links below.

Annual Reports:
CIAC Board of Control
CSAC Board of Control
Elementary Board of Control
High School Board of Control
Middle School Board of Control
Principals’ Center Board of Control

The video clip below offers a small glimpse of the myriad activities and events sponsored by CAS during the 2014-2015 year.