Katherine Ericson Appointed Executive Director

Katherine Ericson Appointed Executive Director
Kate Ericson

On Friday, May 24, the LEARN Board of Directors unanimously appointed Katherine Ericson its new Executive Director, effective July 1. She will take the place of her mentor, Dr. Eileen Howley, who is retiring in June.

Ericson, of Franklin, will be promoted from her role as LEARN’s Deputy Executive Director. In her new capacity, she will lead the Regional Educational Service Center for the state’s southeastern region, serving 25 towns and 21 public school districts through a number of critical and specialized services. Additionally, she will effectively serve as superintendent to seven interdistrict magnet schools throughout southeastern and central Connecticut.

"I am humbled by this tremendous opportunity afforded to me by the LEARN Board to lead this thriving educational service agency committed to ensuring high quality education to all students,” Ericson said. “I welcome the opportunity to work alongside the remarkable educational leaders, teachers, staff and community members in southeastern Connecticut. I am honored to lead LEARN's dedicated team of professionals.”

Ericson has been with LEARN for four years and previously served as Chief Academic Officer of the New London Public Schools. She has also taught history at both Griswold and New London high schools. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in secondary education and history from Boston College, a Master’s Degree in Special Education from Southern Connecticut State University, and administrative credentials from Sacred Heart University and the University of Connecticut.

Howley has been LEARN Executive Director since December 2012. She announced her retirement earlier this year, leading LEARN to form an Executive Search Committee – comprised of an agency director, members of the Board of Directors, and a member district school superintendent – to seek Howley’s successor. CABE Search Services, with consultants Mary Broderick and John Ramos, conducted focus groups and surveys with stakeholders and helped identify candidates for the position.

The search garnered an impressive pool of candidates, including four who were interviewed for the position. Ericson was one of two finalists and emerged as the unanimous choice to succeed Dr. Howley as LEARN Executive Director.

“LEARN experienced amazing growth under Eileen Howley’s inspired leadership, and the Board is very excited to have found in Kate Ericson a tremendously talented new executive director who can continue LEARN’s history of innovation, collaboration, and service to southeastern Connecticut,” said Craig Esposito, Chairman of the LEARN Board of Directors.

Ericson becomes just the fourth executive director in LEARN’s 52-year history. Traditionally focused on special education and professional development, LEARN has grown into an agency with more than 600 employees, including 252 certified staff members. LEARN magnet schools – The Friendship School (Waterford), Regional Multicultural Magnet School (New London), Dual Language and Arts Magnet Middle School (Waterford), Marine Science Magnet High School (Groton), Three Rivers Middle College High School (Norwich) and its two Goodwin College partner schools, Riverside Magnet School and the Connecticut River Academy (both East Hartford) - serve over 2,000 students.

Additionally, LEARN recently opened up the Ocean Avenue LEARNing Academy in New London, designed to support students with autism and serious developmental and behavioral challenges and consolidating the agency’s Student Support Services division. LEARN staff also support area school districts with special education services, early childhood (including Birth to Three) and professional learning supports.

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