New England Secondary School Consortium


New England Secondary School Consortium Recognizes Champions at Annual Conference

Providence, RI — The New England Secondary School Consortium’s state and regional Champion Awards honor the unique contributions of New England leaders working to raise graduation rates, lower dropout rates, and send more students on to college and postsecondary-certification programs. The six 2018 award recipients were recognized for their extraordinary commitment to ensuring that public-school students across New England have a chance to succeed in school, live a fulfilled and meaningful life, and make a positive contribution to the world.

The New England Secondary School Consortium’s 2018 state and regional Champion Award winners:

  • New England Regional Champion: Rebecca Wolfe, Associate Vice President, Jobs for the Future
  • Connecticut State Champion: Janet Garagliano, Staff Associate, Leadership Development, Connecticut Association of Schools
  • Maine State Champion: Greg Miller, Director, United Technologies Center, Maine Career and Technical Education
  • New Hampshire State Champion: Paul Leather, Director for State and Local Partnerships, Center for Innovation in Education
  • Rhode Island State Champion: Stephanie Geller, Senior Policy Analyst, Rhode Island KIDS COUNT
  • Vermont State Champion: Charles Scranton, Executive Director, Rowland Foundation

“The 2018 NESSC Champions are tireless leaders in New England’s effort to ensure high-quality learning experiences for all students across the region,” said David Ruff, executive director of the Great Schools Partnership and the New England Secondary School Consortium. “Due to the efforts of champions like these, we are seeing strong academic gains across New England and a narrowing of the persistent achievement gap for Black, Latino, and economically disadvantaged students. It is a privilege to work beside these unwavering champions for educational equity to further narrow those gaps, and we are humbled to provide them with this well-deserved recognition.”

The awards were given out on Monday, March 12, at the annual School Redesign in Action conference, which is hosted by the New England Secondary School Consortium in collaboration with the departments and agencies of education in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Now in its ninth year, the conference attracted over 900 educators, students, policy makers, and community members representing 20 states. Conference participants had the opportunity to choose from over sixty unique presentations led by teachers, students, and community leaders. All presenters have made significant progress increasing student achievement and engagement, graduation rates, college-enrollment numbers, or other indicators of educational success.

The New England Secondary School Consortium is a regional partnership working to advance forward-thinking innovations in secondary education that will empower the next generation of citizens, workers, and leaders. The Consortium’s goal is to ensure that every public high school student receives an education that prepares them for success in the colleges, careers, and communities of the 21st century. The Consortium is funded by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, the largest philanthropy in New England focused exclusively on education, and coordinated by the Great Schools Partnership, a nonprofit educational-support organization in Portland, Maine.


Regional Champion

Rebecca E. Wolfe, PhD, associate vice president at Jobs for the Future (JFF), oversees Students at the Center, a JFF initiative. Students at the Center is a leading national voice in the effort to support practitioners and policymakers with the research, tools, and inspiration they need to set ambitious goals for student readiness outcomes and catalyze and support sustained efforts toward transformative teaching and learning. Together with our partners we aim to ensure all students—with a special focus on low-income youth and students of color—can acquire the skills, knowledge, and dispositions needed for success in college, the workforce, and civic life. Major Students at the Center projects include: an interactive framework for student-centered approaches that lead to deeper learning; over 900 curated tools and resources on; the Student-Centered Learning Research Collaborative; and direct supports for state and district efforts informed by and aligned to JFF frameworks and research.

Dr. Wolfe has authored or co-authored numerous publications on student-centered learning, recent selections including Rethinking Readiness: Deeper Learning for College, Work and Life (Ed., Harvard Education Press 2017), Leadership and Educator Competencies for Personalized, Learner-centered Teaching (JFF & CCSSO 2017, 2015) and Anytime, Anywhere: Student-centered learning for schools and teachers (Ed., Harvard Education Press 2013). Before JFF, Dr. Wolfe was a program director at the Fairfield County (CT) Community Foundation, developing a cross-district school leadership initiative for growing and training urban school principals; a middle school site coordinator for GEAR UP in Dorchester; a teacher in several college-readiness initiatives for middle-school youth in Dorchester and Roxbury; and a community liaison in the Suffolk County district attorney’s office for the first Youth Opportunity Area.

Dr. Wolfe holds a B.A. in sociology with a focus in urban education from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. in education policy and administration from Stanford University, advised by Milbrey McLaughlin. A graduate of Simsbury Public Schools in CT, she and her family now reside in Arlington, MA.


Connecticut State Champion

Janet Garagliano, one of the NESSC’s biggest champions, passed away after a short illness in December of 2017.

Janet’s career in education spanned many roles. She began as a teacher of social studies at Hamden High School in Connecticut. She progressed to department chairperson and then associate principal for academics in Hamden. She went on to be principal of Wamogo High School in Litchfield, Connecticut. In 2005, Janet was appointed principal of Jonathan Law High School in Milford, Connecticut, and held that role until her retirement in 2011. In retirement, Janet worked briefly for the Connecticut Association of Schools before joining the staff at the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents in 2012. It was also during this time that Janet served as a liaison for the New England Secondary School Consortium.

Janet will certainly be remembered by anyone fortunate enough to have collaborated with her. Ever enthusiastic, Janet was a champion for children believing strongly in the possibility of each student. She was a leading voice for promoting personalization and mastery in Connecticut. She encouraged schools to join the League of Innovative Schools, to challenge their assumptions, and to engage in new strategies. She believed deeply in the work of the New England Secondary School Consortium and the capacity of her colleagues in Connecticut and across the region to press forward with difficult changes.


Maine State Champion

Greg Miller has worked in Maine technical education in various capacities for over 27 years and higher education for seven years. Much of Greg’s career has been dedicated to helping students by building programming that is relevant, rigorous, and engaging. He has dedicated much time and effort to creating opportunities that allow students to earn significant college credit while also gaining meaningful third party certifications. Many Maine career and technical education students now regularly earn upwards of 30 dual-enrolled general-education credits and many additional content area credits, which often brings students to close to completing an associate’s degree prior to high school graduation. Other areas of focus for Greg are creating digital badging protocols for career and technical education, creative facility usage, and helping teachers and students become the best they can be.


New Hampshire State Champion

Paul Leather is director for state and local partnerships at the Center for Innovation in Education. Mr. Leather was the founding New Hampshire member of the New England Secondary School Consortium. Mr. Leather’s background and experience in education, counseling, and administration in New Hampshire spans four decades. He served as the deputy commissioner of the Department of Education in New Hampshire for eight years, and has also served for 18 years as the director of the Division of Career Technology and Adult Learning for the Department, overseeing statewide initiatives such as high school redesign, extended learning opportunities, and drop-out prevention, as well as the administration of vocational rehabilitation, adult education, career and technical education, tech-prep, and school guidance and counseling.

In 1997, as part of the New Hampshire School to Career efforts, Mr. Leather began the journey to create a state model for a competency-based student transcript. This effort resulted in the development and implementation of the New Hampshire Competency Based Assessment System and ultimately to the student mastery model now in place as part of the state’s school approval standards. More recently, he led the development of a first-in-the-nation next generation educational accountability model, called “Performance Assessment of Competency Education,” or PACE, approved as a pilot program with four New Hampshire districts in March of 2015.


Rhode Island State Champion

Stephanie Geller is a senior policy analyst at Rhode Island KIDS COUNT, a statewide multi-issue children’s policy organization, where she is responsible for policy analysis, research, and writing on a variety of issues affecting the well-being of children, including education, poverty, family economic security, and housing and homelessness. Stephanie manages the Rhode Island Alliance for College and Career Readiness and coordinates a related Student-Centered Learning Leadership Table in Rhode Island. Stephanie also serves as the Rhode Island State Lead for the National Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. She believes strongly in the importance of student and parent voice and enjoys the opportunities she has to interact with and learn from Rhode Island students and parents.

Before joining Rhode Island KIDS COUNT, Stephanie was a research associate at the National Center on Family Homelessness where she managed a multi-site study that examined the effectiveness of different housing and service approaches for homeless families. Previously, Stephanie was research director at Volunteers in Health Care and scientist at the National Center on Substance Abuse Treatment Needs Assessment.

She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Wellesley College and a Masters in Education with a focus on Human Development and Psychology from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.


Vermont State Champion

Charles W. Scranton is the executive director of the Vermont-based Rowland Foundation, an organization he conceived in 2008 when he stepped down after serving for 28 years as a principal of two schools. The Rowland Foundation powerfully believes that teacher leaders, working in partnership with their principals, can be the catalysts for the kind of school transformation that is lasting and sustainable. There are currently 68 Rowland Fellows.

Chuck began his career in education in 1973 as a sixth grade teacher in a self-contained classroom of a K–8 school in New Jersey. Six years later he stepped into the role of principal of the school, a position he held for the next 13 years. After working for a year with inner-city youth for the Amelior Foundation, Chuck and his family relocated to Vermont, where in 1993 he became the principal of Burr and Burton Academy, a 9–12 school serving 700 students from the surrounding communities. He remained in that position for 15 years. Throughout his time in school administration, Chuck always taught at least one class and for 30 years led students on backpacking trips in the Adirondacks.

In his free time Chuck spends countless hours in his woodshop in a barn he built on his property in South Londonderry, Vermont. Chuck and Arden, his wife of 45 years, raised three children and now experience the joy of four grandchildren.


Contact: Blythe Armitage, Public Engagement Associate, 207.773.0505,


Back to Latest News