Dr. Howley To Retire From LEARN

LEARN Executive Director Dr. Eileen S. Howley to Retire
Dr. Howley

LEARN Executive Director Dr. Eileen S. Howley will retire from her career in public education on July 1, 2019. Her retirement closes a career spanning four decades.

Howley, of Wakefield, R.I., has been Executive Director of LEARN since December 2012. LEARN is one of six Regional Educational Service Centers (RESCs) in the state and serves 25 public school districts in southeastern Connecticut. During her tenure Howley worked to reinforce LEARN’s core values and work of innovating, collaborating, and serving the educational community.

The LEARN Board of Directors accepted Howley’s retirement on March 14.

"Dr. Howley has brought incredible vision and passion as the executive director and has been crucial in transforming LEARN, giving the organization renewed focus and direction,” said Craig Esposito, chair of the LEARN Board of Directors. “She is an outstanding leader and individual, and the board and the staff will miss her greatly."  

Under her leadership, Dr. Howley has worked to revitalize LEARN regional special education services.   This winter, the Office of Student Support Services achieved a milestone, opening its first permanent facility for children with autism and developmental disabilities, the Ocean Avenue LEARNing Academy in New London. This facility currently services approximately 60 children has the capacity to house up to 100 students; the program also provides diagnostic services to support children who need immediate evaluation and support in our local school districts. It also houses LEARN’s clinical staff, including BCBAs, speech and language pathologists, and occupational and physical therapists. A grand opening is scheduled for later this spring. 

In her role, Howley also serves as the superintendent of seven interdistrict magnet schools. The LEARN schools have achieved a broad array of accomplishments—achieving NEASC and NAEYC accreditation, International Baccalaureate candidacy, and winning national awards, such as the Gold and Bronze Medals, from U.S. News & World Report, Magnet Schools of America award, and CT Schools of Distinction, to name a few.  During her tenure, LEARN won two highly competitive federal grants to support local magnets ($11 million and $15 million), also supporting intra-district magnet schools in Norwich and Groton.  

 “It has been an honor and privilege to serve this Board, this Executive Committee, this region, the LEARN leadership team, our staff, our partners, and our members,” Howley said.

In addition, Howley has also worked to promote regional efficiencies. She was instrumental in helping to establish the Eastern CT Health and Medical Cooperative, an insurance cooperative providing medical, dental, and prescription drug benefits to its members, creating regional efficiencies. LEARN’s professional development services have also been revitalized, including new networks, communities of practice, and services related to English Language Learners.

Howley also served as an Assistant Superintendent in West Hartford and Farmington and as interim superintendent while in Farmington. She has served as Bureau Chief for Curriculum and Instruction at the Connecticut State Department of Education, as a staff developer at Area Cooperative Educational Services, and began her career as a teacher in Avon.   She is most well known for her contributions to the development of the BEST program, a program for new and mentor teachers, and her commitment to developing high quality educators.

She holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Hartford and a Master’s Degree from Central Connecticut State University. She has an undergraduate degree in English from St. Michael’s College in Vermont.

LEARN will contract with a search firm to conduct a search and hire a new leader. The search will begin in March.

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