Month: September 2015

EDLR Faculty Talks From Neag Anniversary Celebration, October 2014

In October 2014, a conference was held for more than 250 students, faculty and alumni to celebrate to 15th anniversary of naming the Neag School of Education.  Preston Green, Morgaen Donaldson and Sarah Woulfin were three faculty that represented the Department of Educational Leadership, below are their presentations.

Having It Both Ways: How Charter Schools Try to Obtain the Funding of Public Schools and the Autonomy of Private Schools by Preston Green, Professor of Educational Leadership and Law.

The Good Teacher.  Are Current Policies and Practices Changing the Nature of Teaching in U.S. Schools?” by Suzanne Wilson, a Neag Endowed Professor, featuring EDLR’s Morgaen Donaldson and Sarah Woulfin.

Click here for an entire list of presentations from the celebration.


Summer 2015, Sport Management Alumni Engagement Efforts


Summer 2015

In an effort to continue to grow the alumni base and strengthen relationships, the Sport Management program hosted two very successful events during the summer months.   These gatherings made up the second consecutive summer of alumni events held by the department throughout the Northeast.Sport management alumni event, hartford

Harnessing the momentum from last summer, this year’s events kicked off in New York City.  The first gathering, held on June 30, was attended by nearly thirty faculty, alumni and friends of the program.  Hors d’oeuvres and drinks were enjoyed by all in attendance.  Alumni from various professional backgrounds, including professional sport, collegiate athletics, marketing and development, networked while enjoying picturesque views of the New York City skyline.

A special thank you to alumnus Alex Friedman for graciously hosting the event.  Alex showed true UConn pride by generously opening his home to fellow Huskies for the evening.

The second, and most attended alumni event, took place on August 27 in Connecticut’s capital city.   Sport Management faculty, alumni, current students and friends of the program enjoyed the beautiful weather in downtown Hartford during an evening of networking.  The event also served as a welcome of sorts for the newest cohort of Sport Management master’s students. A great time was had by the over thirty-five people in attendance.  

It is through face-to-face communication and enjoying each other’s company that the alumni base will continue to grow, which serves as a strong motivator when planning and hosting these events.  A diverse alumni network is a beneficial resource to all who have graduated from the elite program. It provides personal and professional advantages as well as a source of continued involvement with the university.  

Future alumni events are in the works to continue to build on this summer’s efforts.  We encourage all alumni and friends of the program, to consider attending a future event – it promises to be a fun and productive way to spend a few hours.  We’d love to hear your ideas and suggestions for future events and activities!  Please contact for more information on this summer’s events or to share ideas.


sport management alumni event, hartford group shot 2015


UCAPP Grad Takes Position as Chief School Turnaround Officer for the State Department of Education

Award-Winning Bloomfield Educator Taking Off For State Job

BLOOMFIELD — Batman is leaving the building.
Metacomet School Principal Desi Nesmith, who on occasion has surprised students by greeting them from the roof of the school in a Batman costume as they get off the bus in the morning, is leaving the school after four years.Principal Desi Nesmith

Nesmith, 36, has accepted the position as chief school turnaround officer for the state Department of Education.

“This is the hardest personal or professional decision I have had to make in my career,” said Nesmith, who grew up in town and also attended the school. “Bloomfield is home. Bloomfield is in my heart.”

Nesmith started his teaching career in East Hartford at Mayberry Elementary School and was named that school’s teacher of the year in 2006. In 2009 he moved to Hartford and became principal of the America’s Choice at SAND School, where student scores on the Connecticut Mastery Test increased from among the lowest in the state to the highest in the city in one year, earning him an award as the Promising Young Professional by the University of Connecticut Neag School of Education in 2010.

Nesmith left public education briefly in 2010, but when the Metacomet principal’s position opened up, he jumped at it, and quickly had an effect; student performance increased and the achievement gap decreased. In 2013 the school’s third-graders scored above the state average in reading, writing and math, according to district officials.

In 2014 he also received a $25,000 Milken Educator Award, which honors early to mid-career eduDESIcators throughout the country. Nesmith used part of the award to fund a college scholarship each year for four years to a Bloomfield High School senior interested in becoming an educator.

Nesmith said his experience in helping struggling schools improve quickly and the prospect of helping a larger group of students succeed, made the job of turnaround chief appealing when Education Commissioner Dianna Wentzell approached him.

“I saw this as something that my experiences have led to,” he said. “I thought maybe there’s something I can bring to the table to help here.”

In the new job helping struggling schools in 30 Alliance Districts around the state get back on track, Nesmith said, he plans to approach issues from the same angle he has as a teacher and principal.

“I’m a practitioner,” he said. “What are we doing that’s working? And what’s not working so well that we could do something differently?”

Nick Caruso, a Bloomfield resident, former board of education member and grandfather of a fourth-grade Metacomet student, said he was happy for Nesmith professionally but disappointed for his grandson.

“I said you don’t have to worry about Meta, Mr. Nesmith is there,” said Caruso, who wasn’t surprised by the news based on Nesmith’s long list of achievements.

“Nobody thought he’d be here forever, maybe just a little longer.”Desi Nesmith in 2011

Schools Superintendent James Thompson also said the district was thrilled for his advancement and thanked him for his leadership.

But until Sept. 29 — his last day in Bloomfield — it’s all Metacomet all the time, including a final trip to the roof with Robin — the school’s gym teacher — by his side.

“We’re working on one more,” he said. “The kids just loved it.”

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