Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor announced Wednesday that he has created seven new positions at the State Department of Education responsible for implementing elements of the education reforms sought by him and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

The new positions include a teacher talent officer for teacher preparedness, a school turnaround officer to lead interventions in low-achieving schools and a performance officer responsible for teacher evaluations and using data more effectively.

The compensation listed for most of the new positions ranges between $112,00 to $144,000.

Pryor said some of these new positions will be filled with existing staff, but they will also be looking for new talent outside the agency. Pryor noted that he intends to fill these vacancies within the department’s existing budget and without expanding the total number of staff the agency currently employs. He said no department employees will be laid off and instead will use the vacancies created by staff retirements and departures for this reorganization effort. The State Department of Education has funding for 364 position, but 37 are currently vacant.

One of the new positions was filled at Wednesday’s meeting. Charlene Russell-Tucker, who has been one of the agency’s top leaders for the last 25 years, was named the chief operating officer by the State Board of Education. Pryor said she will be getting a raise in addition to the new title. Her salary will be $137,000.

Jacqueline was CT Mirror’s Education and Housing Reporter, and an original member of the CT Mirror staff, joining shortly before our January 2010 launch. Her awards include the best-of-show Theodore A. Driscoll Investigative Award from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists in 2019 for reporting on inadequate inmate health care, first-place for investigative reporting from the New England Newspaper and Press Association in 2020 for reporting on housing segregation, and two first-place awards from the National Education Writers Association in 2012. She was selected for a prestigious, year-long Propublica Local Reporting Network grant in 2019, exploring a range of affordable and low-income housing issues. Before joining CT Mirror, Jacqueline was a reporter, online editor and website developer for The Washington Post Co.’s Maryland newspaper chains. Jacqueline received an undergraduate degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and a master’s in public policy from Trinity College.

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