David Ruff, Executive Director
David Ruff is executive director of the Great Schools Partnership, where he leads a wide variety of school-improvement initiatives.
David earned a B.A. in English from Dartmouth University in 1985. He began his career in education as an English teacher at Thornton Academy in Saco, Maine, where he worked for seven years with students of all academic abilities. David was also a member of the Maine Commission on Secondary Education, the task force that crafted Promising Futures, and he has served on the Executive Board of the Coalition of Essential Schools and on the National Foxfire Coordinator Board for the Foxfire Fund. He lives in Portland, Maine, with his wife and two children. >> email David
Mark Kostin, Associate Director
Mark is associate director of the Great Schools Partnership, where he coaches several high schools in Maine, provides professional development to principals and teachers, and technical assistance to districts and state agencies. Mark’s professional interests include collaborative school improvement, the role of schools in a democracy, the educational challenges facing boys, and equitable access to knowledge for all students.
Mark earned his BS in chemistry and a DipEd in secondary education from McGill University in Montreal, in addition to a MEd in administration and planning and an EdD in leadership and policy studies from the University of Vermont. He has served on local, state, and national boards and has been involved in supporting teaching and learning since 1989, when he began teaching science in a large high school in Toronto, Canada. Mark was formerly associate principal at Middlebury Union High School and an assistant professor of secondary education and director of partnerships and field experiences at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro. He lives in Yarmouth, Maine, with his wife and three children. >> email Mark
Duke Albanese, Senior Policy Advisor
Duke Albanese is senior policy advisor for the Great Schools Partnership. His career in education has spanned forty years, including service as the Commissioner of Education for the State of Maine (1996–2003) and a long tenure as the superintendent of schools for the Messalonskee School District in the Belgrade Lakes Region of Maine. Duke is a nationally sought-after adviser and speaker on educational issues and policies, and a founding director of the Sports Done Right initiative at the University of Maine.
Originally hailing from East Providence, Rhode Island, he attended public schools before earning a B.A. from Bowdoin College and an M.Ed. in guidance and counseling and a C.A.S. in educational administration from the University of Maine. Duke and his wife, Nancy, live in Brunswick, Maine, and have two grown children, Derek and Kelsey, and two grandchildren. >> email Duke
Stephen Abbott, Director of Communications
Stephen Abbott is director of communications for the Great Schools Partnership, New England Secondary School Consortium, and League of Innovative Schools. He has worked as a writer, magazine editor, and communications professional for more than a decade, and he has authored or co-authored several resources for educators, including Leadership in Action, Global Best Practices, Harnessing Teacher Knowledge, and Ninth Grade Counts. He is also the assistant director of the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance, a nonprofit organization that supports writers, publishers, booksellers, and literary professionals.
Stephen graduated from Sarah Lawrence College with a B.A. in literature and literary theory and was formerly a copywriter and publicist for Columbia University Press. He is an avid squash player and golfer, and he currently serves as the board president of Engine, an arts leadership and advocacy organization in Biddeford, Maine.
Janet Garagliano, State Liaison
Janet served as principal of Wamogo Regional High School and Jonathan Law High School in Connecticut, and as an assistant and associate principal at Hamden High School and a social sciences teacher at Hamden High School. She is currently an associate executive director at the Connecticut Association of Schools and works on a variety of projects all designed to support principals as they implement the Connecticut Plan and integrate 21st-century learning. She is former vice president of the Connecticut Association of Schools, which represents K–12 administrators in the state. Janet's professional interests include secondary innovation and the role of collaboration and data analysis in educational program design.
Janet holds a BA in sociology from Albertus Magnus College and a MA in sociology and history from Southern Connecticut State University. She also holds a certificate of advanced study in educational supervision from Southern Connecticut State University. >> email Janet
Skip Hanson, State Liaison
Skip worked as a teacher, coach, athletic director, principal, assistant superintendent, and superintendent in the Maine public school system for thirty-four years, before he became superintendent of School Administrative Union 16 in New Hampshire for the next eleven years. After he retired in 2008, the Arthur L. Hanson Center for the Performing Arts, a 1,000-seat performing arts center at Exeter High School, was named in his honor. While superintendent of School Administrative Union 21, Skip oversaw the construction of a 1,500-pupil middle school, a 1,700-pupil high school, and renovations to six of the elementary schools. He also cofounded two alternative public charter schools—the Great Bay learning Charter School and the Virtual Learning Academy Charter School. From 1993–1999, Skip also served as an assistant professor of education at Thomas College in Waterville, Maine.
Skip earned his BS in education from the University of Maine at Presque Isle, a MEd and certification of advanced study in education leadership from the University of Maine, and an EdD in educational leadership from Nova Southern University. >> email Skip