Three candidates vying to become the state’s next education commissioner are set to be interviewed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

Frances Rabinowitz
Frances Rabinowitz

These three educators — selected by members of the State Board of Education — all have a long background in education, something the state’s teachers’ unions have been pushing for.

The candidates include Frances Rabinowitz, the interim superintendent of Bridgeport, who has a long history of running public schools in Connecticut, including Hamden public schools.

Another candidate is Nate Quesnel, who has been the superintendent of East Hartford public schools for nearly three years and principal of a middle school in that district for three years before that.

Al Ingram
Alan Ingram

The third candidate is Alan Ingram, who has been the deputy commissioner of the Massachusettes Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for the last three years. A retired sergeant from the U.S. Air Force, he was the superintendent of Springfield public schools for four years.

Almost two dozen candidates applied to become Connecticut’s next education commissioner. The job announcement sought applicants with a long background and an advanced degree in education — qualifications the last commissioner, Stefan Pryor, did not have and which one of the state’s teachers’ unions called for during the last campaign.

Nate Quesnel
Nate Quesnel

Pryor had a law degree, a background in economic development and experience opening a charter school. The relationship between teachers and the administration of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy fractured in 2012 after Malloy and Pryor proposed several controversial initiatives to change teacher evaluations, tenure and collective bargaining in the lowest-performing schools.

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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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