PK-3 Leadership Program’s Instructor: Noam Sturm

This fall, Noam Sturm, Principal of Roaring Brook School in Avon and UConn alumnus, will return to facilitate the second module of UConn Neag’s PK-3 Leadership Program.  The module, which focuses on assessment and evaluation, brings together a team of nationally-renowned experts to explore the nuances of assessment at the PK-3 level.

Sturm has over two decades of experience in the field of elementary education, including time spent as a teacher, curriculum specialist,assistant principal, and now principal in the Avon Public School system.  In addition, Sturm has served on a multitude of committees and boards, which includes his involvement in the Systemic Instructional Improvement Program (SIIP) through the Connecticut Center for School Change; his service as a LEAD CT Policy and Practice Fellow through New Leaders; and his leadership as a Board Member of Great by 8, a regional initiative to improve access to high-quality services in the areas of early childhood education and health.

This is Sturm’s fourth year as a facilitator for the PK-3 Leadership Program, and he has been a member of the UConn community for even longer: he earned his bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and sixth-year diploma in Educational Leadership at UConn.  According to Program Director Dr. Karen List, Sturm’s unique combination of “sharp intellect, creativity and flexibility” make him an ideal facilitator for the PK-3 Leadership program. Furthermore, said List, “Noam has worked with a wide range of children and families, from those in abject poverty to those with great wealth. He’s experienced with bilingual families. He’s adept at bringing coherency across and within the grades, and he believes in continuous improvement.”

Sturm said that the upcoming module of the PK-3 Leadership Program approaches assessment from all angles, from assessment of children at the PK-3 level to assessment of PK-3 teachers.  

More broadly, said Sturm,“The program offers tools to help people be advocates for our field. We all need to serve as ambassadors for the age-3 to grade-3 continuum.”

“Education is measured ever more tightly,” said Sturm, “and as educators, we want to make sure we can support our programs. In this module, we deal with real questions: How do I pitch my own program?  What are the metrics I can provide to the Board of Education, to taxpayers to show that there are substantial benefits?” Sturm and List have incorporated these questions into the curriculum to help participants gain a deeper understanding of how to address these issues that are so crucial to success in the field of early childhood education. As a result of his extensive service in the field, said List, “Noam is uniquely well-positioned to be the instructor for this module.”

PK-3 Leadership Program’s Instructor: Kerry Jones

This July, Kerry Jones, Director of Elementary Education for West Hartford Public Schools, returned to successfully facilitate the first module of Neag’s 2018-2019 PK-3 Leadership Program. The module, entitled Curriculum and Instruction, covers a diverse range of topics and brings together a team of experts to help participants dig deeper into curricular design for the PreK-3 level.

Kerry Jones headshot
Kerry Jones, Director of Elementary Education for West Hartford Public Schools and PK-3 Leadership Instructor.

Jones’ background in the field of PreK-3 education is both remarkable and extensive. She is now in her sixth year as Director of Elementary Education for West Hartford Public Schools, where she is responsible for PreK-5 curriculum, instruction, and professional development, as well as for K-12 reading intervention. In 2013, she completed the UConn Neag School of Education’s Executive Leadership Program. She holds a Master’s degree in Language and Literacy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and, prior to her current position, had 5 years of experience as a building-based leader (elementary assistant principal and principal) and 15 years of experience as an elementary school teacher and teacher-leader.

On top of her rich background in PreK-3 education, this will be Jones’ fourth year teaching in the PK-3 Leadership Program. According to Program Director Dr. Karen List, Jones is a fantastic fit for the program:

“Kerry understands adult learning. Helping educators focus on what is important in their unique setting requires a laser focus on each individual. Kerry brings this quality along with her vast expertise and enthusiasm.”

According to Jones, “Equity is a through line throughout the whole PK-3 program, and certainly the Curriculum and Instruction module.” For PreK-3 educators, said Jones, equitable instruction means a whole range of things, from dynamic learning environment design to developmentally-appropriate learning progressions to targeted allocation of resources to where needs are greatest. Jones said that the PK-3 Leadership Program’s small group cohort model allows for authentic conversations about the challenges of implementing and sustaining quality, equitable PK-3 education.

One of the program’s most valuable offerings, said Jones, is the opportunity to widen the tapestry of support with other educator-leaders. “Leaders in the PK-3 program gain a foundation and meaningful connection with educators across Connecticut,” said Jones. She noted that in her own career those connections and mentors who “both strengthen you and provide the tough advice when you need it” have been invaluable.

Effective leadership at the PreK-3 level is crucial, said Jones. “If you’re just going from fire to fire to fire, you’ll end up burnt out. You have to step away and look at things systemically, strategically.” The 2018-2019 PK-3 Leadership Program creates a space to balance the micro and the macro, said Jones. “It inspires educational leaders to facilitate reflection, dialogue, and action within their own settings and communities.”

2017 Outstanding School Administrator, Neag School Alumni Awards

Editor’s Note: This story, written by Neag School's Shawn Kornegay, originally appeared on the Neag School’s website.

Carter Welch '99 (ED), '11 Ed.D., '12 ELP - Principal of Jerome Harrison Elementary School, North Branford, Conn.

Carter Welch — NEAG-Awards-2017-selects-24 web WelchCarter Welch received his bachelor of science in sport medicine in 1999, his Ed.D. in 2011, and a certificate in educational leadership in 2012, all from UConn's Neag School of Education. He is currently enrolled in the Neag School's PK-3 Leadership Program. Welch earned a master of science in school health and a master of science in exercise science at Southern Connecticut State University.

Prior to his current position, Welch taught physical education to students in the North Branford school district from 2002 to 2005. In 2005, he became the K-12 coordinator for health and physical education for four schools in the district. As coordinator, Welch supervised and evaluated K-5 classroom teachers in health education curriculum; led curriculum teams in health and physical education during curriculum cycle phases; and led professional development on differentiated instruction for all district physical education and health teachers.

Welch served as the dean of students for grades 9 to 12 from 2008 to 2010 before becoming an adjunct professor in the Department of Educational Leadership at SCSU in 2013. In 2014, Welch took on the role of becoming a coach, consultant, and research affiliate with the National School Climate Center in New York. He worked as assistant principal of North Branford High School from 2010 to 2013 before moving to Jerome Harrison Elementary.

Video Featuring Carter Welch