About the Team

Heather Levitt Doucette, GPS Project Manager
Heather has worked in education for over 20 years in a variety of roles, including early interventionist, preschool teacher, state special education compliance monitor and district assessment coordinator.  In her current role as manager of instructional projects for the Capitol Region Education Council’s Resource Group division, Heather oversees the development of education-related products and services. 

Lisa Gildea
Lisa Gildea has been in the field of education for nearly 30 years with most of her time serving in Title 1 schools and educating English Language Learners. During her tenure, she has taught grades 1-6 and has been an administrator. She was a Parent, Community and School Liaison in Tulsa, Oklahoma and served as the Family, School, and Community Partnership Coordinator for Capitol Region Education Council in Hartford, CT. Lisa’s undergraduate degree is in Elementary Education and her Master’s is in Curriculum and Instruction.

Jessie Lavorgna
Jessie B. Lavorgna is a seasoned and dedicated family, school, and community partnership specialist. For well over a decade, Jessie has worked in collaboration with schools, families, students, and communities on efforts to improve student well-being and academic growth.  She has an extensive background in educational program development and implementation of evidence-based practices in family-school-community partnerships, TESOL, adult education, and PK-12 culturally sustaining pedagogy. Currently, Jessie is the Director of Partnerships for Windsor Locks Public Schools (in Connecticut), where she oversees the Office of Partnerships.

Anne Henderson, Consultant
Anne is a senior consultant with the Community Organizing and Engagement Program at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform. Her specialty is the relationship between families and schools, and its impact on students’ success in school and through life. For over 40 years, Anne has tracked research and effective practice on how engaging families can improve student achievement, especially in diverse and low-income communities.

Anne co-authored the best-selling book, Beyond the Bake Sale: The Essential Guide to Family-School Partnerships.  This framework for GPS was based in large part on the descriptions of Family-School Partnerships described in this book. 

Amy Karwan
Amy Karwan is the Director of the Capitol Region Education Council (CREC) Resource Group. She leads CREC’s products and services division, including professional learning, instructional projects, staff brokering, cooperative purchasing, and educational product development. Amy held K-12 leadership positions in the public school systems and the nonprofit sectors. She served as Chief Turnaround Officer for Southbridge Public Schools (MA), Executive Director of College Readiness Assessments at The College Board (NY), Executive Director of Performance Management & Accountability for Stamford Public Schools (CT), and Special Assistant for the New York City Department of Education (NY). She has worked in service of students and educators for nearly 20 years.

Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, Funders
For nearly a century, the Hartford Foundation has collaborated with private donors, nonprofits and community leaders to support initiatives that address threats to the quality of life, health and safety of our most vulnerable citizens.  In the spring of 2018, HFPG approached CREC with start-up funds to develop an innovative approach to supporting improved family-school partnerships. The generous financial support from HFPG enabled CREC to conceive of and develop GPS.

Guiding Partnerships with Schools Pilot Schools
In the spring of 2019, family engagement specialists from 11 public schools in Connecticut volunteered their time to assist in developing content for the Guiding Partnerships with Schools platform.  This dedicated team of professionals vetted and validated the GPS self-assessment, engaged with families in their schools to obtain feedback on the GPS system, and drew on their depth of experience working with families to provide constructive criticism throughout the product development process. GPS reflects current best-practice in family engagement due in large part to the contributions of the pilot schools:

  • International Magnet School for Global Citizenship (South Windsor, CT)
  • Discovery Academy (Wethersfield, CT)
  • Glastonbury-East Hartford Magnet School (Glastonbury, CT)
  • Thelma Ellis Dickerson Elementary School (Hartford, CT)
  • Jumoke Academy Honors Science Math and Research Technology (Hartford, CT)
  • Jumoke Academy at the Hartford Conservatory (Hartford, CT)
  • Prudence Crandall School (Enfield, CT)
  • Wolcott Elementary School (West Hartford, CT)
  • King Philip Middle School (West Hartford, CT)
  • Conard High School (West Hartford, CT)
  • Connecticut River Academy (East Hartford, CT)

Capitol Region Education Council (CREC)
Capitol Region Education Council (CREC) is a regional education service center in Hartford, CT. Since 1966, CREC HAS developed a wide array of cost-effective and high-quality programs, services and products to meet the educational needs of children and adults in Greater Hartford and beyond. CREC provides ongoing professional development workshops for educators, customized educational programming in the public school districts it serves and a diverse array of innovative products to address the most pressing needs in schools today. Staff from CREC’s Resource Group Division lead the development of Guiding Partnerships with Schools. To learn more about CREC, visit www.crec.org.

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