Dianna Wentzell
Dianna Wentzell is expected to be tapped Wednesday to lead the Connecticut Department of Education while the state board searches for a replacement of outgoing commissioner Stefan Pryor.
Dianna Wentzell is expected to be tapped Wednesday to lead the Connecticut Department of Education while the state board searches for a replacement of outgoing commissioner Stefan Pryor.

Dianna Wentzell is expected to be tapped Wednesday to lead the Connecticut Department of Education while the State Board of Education searches for a replacement of outgoing commissioner Stefan Pryor.

Wentzell, who was hired to be one of Pryor’s top deputies, is currently the department’s chief academic officer. Under Pryor and Wentzell, the department has created a new teacher evaluation system that uses standardized tests, implemented Common Core State Standards and funneled more money to low-achieving schools that make certain reforms.

Allan Taylor, the chair of the State Board of Education, said the upcoming appointment of Wentzell made sense.

“We are grateful for and impressed by the strength and dedication of the department’s senior leadership. Under the able stewardship of Dr. Wentzell, we are confident that this wealth of talent will be able to continue their important work as seamlessly as possible,” he said in a statement.

Wentzell has a doctoral degree in educational leadership from the University of Hartford, a master’s in education from the University of Massachusettes, and a bachelor’s in Russian Studies from Mount Holyoke College.

Before joining the state department, she was an assistant superintendent for Hartford Public Schools and held various roles at regional magnet schools. She also was a teacher of social studies. See her full resume here.

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Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

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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