GSEAP Offers Intriguing Discussion on Charter and Magnet Schools

Submitted by Meredith Guinness, Assistant Director, Media Relations on December 20, 2010

Fairfield’s Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions (GSEAP) Advisory Board is kicking off an exciting new series of events with a panel discussion on charter and magnet schools. “Schools of Hope: Re-imagining Education Through Magnet and Charter Schools” will take place at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 3, at the University’s Alumni House. It is free and open to the campus community and the public.

Norma Neumann-Johnson, Founder of Breakthrough Magnet School in Hartford

Norma Neumann-Johnson, Founder of Breakthrough Magnet School in Hartford

The discussion, featuring three national experts, is the first in the new series “Community Dialogues: Conversations in Education and the Allied Professions.” Dean Susan Franzosa, who helped plan the event with faculty and advisory board members, said their goal is to create a public conversations project that will engage the wider community in discussion of critical issues in education and counseling professions.

“Our hope is that this series will create a public forum for the discussion of issues important to children, families, and communities,” she said.

With the documentary film Waiting for Superman opening a national debate on alternatives in the public school system, “Schools of Hope” will cover a critical and timely topic. The discussion will feature three top experts in the field:

  • Alan Kramer, dean of magnet schools at Goodwin College, oversees the design and implementation of three interdistrict magnet schools on Goodwin’s East Hartford campus. A former principal of Waterbury Arts Magnet School, the largest magnet school in Connecticut, he has also directed gifted and talented and arts and enrichment programs in both Westchester County, N.Y., and in Israel, where he worked for the Ministry of Education. A published playwright, he has had dozens of his theater and choral works performed throughout the country. He holds a B.A. from Trinity College and a master’s degree from the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania.
  • Norma Neumann-Johnson is the founder of Breakthrough Magnet School in Hartford, which was named the 2009 Magnet School of Excellence and 2010 Magnet School of Distinction by the Magnet Schools of America, which includes 6,000 schools. As a college student, she represented the Springfield College chapter of the National Student Association in support of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Voter Registration Drive in Alabama, beginning a lifelong commitment to civil rights and education. Neumann-Johnson taught for 20 years in Hartford before founding Breakthrough Magnet. In 1994, she testified for the plaintiffs in Connecticut’s historic Sheff v. Board of Education case. Neumann-Johnson holds degrees in psychology, education, and administration from Springfield College, the University of Hartford, and the University of Connecticut, respectively.
  • Jack Hawegawa, Former Bureau Chief at the Office of Educational Equity

    Jack Hawegawa, Former Bureau Chief at the Office of Educational Equity

    Jack Hasegawa, former bureau chief at the Office of Educational Equity and a member of GSEAP’s Curriculum and Instruction Advisory Board, also stood with Dr. King to protest segregation and work in community organization in the South during the Civil Rights Movement. Later, he was appointed to serve on committees under the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. He has worked to advance democracy and human rights from the Roxbury section of Boston to Osaka, Japan, to Taipei and Korea, supervising efforts to reduce racial, ethnic, and economic isolation and address issues of fairness in public education. He has worked with magnet and charter schools, interdistrict cooperative programs, Title IX programs, OPEN CHOICE, and many other initiatives. Hasegawa holds a master’s degree in theological students from Harvard University. He holds a Presidential Medal of Freedom in Taiwan for his work advancing freedom and human rights there.

GSEAP’s Advisory Board is busy planning the next Community Dialogue, an April discussion of early childhood issues featuring Dr. Walter S. Gilliam, director of the Edward Zigler Center in Child Development at Yale University. More events will follow in the 2011-12 academic year.

Refreshments will be served at the panel discussion. To R.S.V.P. for this event, contact Fairfield’s Office of Alumni Relations at (203) 254-4280.

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