MERIDEN — Educators across Connecticut were honored at the Connecticut Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents’ 5th Annual Gala Saturday night. One of them was Jennifer Straub, principal of Maloney High School.
“I was immediately touched and honored to receive this prestigious award,” Straub said in remarks ahead of Saturday night’s event, where she received the Exceptional Principal award.
She has been recognized for providing educational resources for Latino students. About 56% of Maloney’s students are Latino.
“We have eleven teachers at Maloney who are native Spanish speakers,” Straub said.
Straub, who has been an educator for 25 years, recalled that 12 years ago advanced placement courses were made available to bilingual students.
“I have seen the program grow and find it important to be part of the program and resource delivery,” she said.
The Connecticut Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents started with 15 New Haven administrators and now has more than 130 members, according to Evelyn Robles-Rivas, president of the organization and supervisor of language and community partnerships at Meriden Public Schools. This is her last year as president, but Robles-Rivas will remain a member of the organization.
CALAS’ mission is to expand resources and opportunities for Latino students and educators. In addition to the prizes, scholarships were given to two high school students, a middle school student and an educator who is pursuing a career as an administrator.
“A lot of fellows become administrators and members of the organization,” Robles-Rivas said before the event. “I’m so proud to be part of this organization because when we hold these gatherings, it’s a chance to hear the success stories of our Latin American community.”
Not all of the nominees are Latino, but all are heavily involved in creating and providing educational resources for Latino students, Robles-Rivas said.
Dr Verna D Ruffine, Superintendent of Waterbury Public Schools, received the Education Leader Award. Connecticut State Representative Robert Sánchez received the Equity Champion Award.
The Outstanding Teacher Award went to Luanelly Iglesias, ESL and bilingual teacher at Danbury Public Schools. The Parent Advocate Award was presented to Nitza Díaz, Education Consultant for the State Education Resource Center. Connecticut State Representative Christopher Rosarion received the Policy Advocate Award. Michelle Brophy, education specialist at the Hartford City Public Library, received the Community Advocate Award.
The gala took place at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington.
For more information on CALAS, visit https://www.calas-ct.org/