Rae Ann Knopf recently joined the Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER) as its new Executive Director. After formally introducing her at CCER’s press conference at the State Capital yesterday, we’ve asked Rae Ann to share her thoughts on assuming the leadership role at CCER and what excites her about CCER’s role in supporting education reform efforts in the state.

This is, perhaps, the most exciting time in education that our country has ever known: it’s a time when the citizens of this nation have openly begun to demand a dynamic education system that will ensure a transformative learning experience for every child.

In particular, the circumstances in Connecticut this year make it ripe for educational reform because we have two of the key ingredients necessary to propel the needed changes:

  • The immensity of the problem we face; and
  • The tremendous commitment of Connecticut’s Governor, Commissioner and other stakeholders.

In other states that have successfully implemented bold reforms, these were the key elements that served to catalyze change.

I know that my past experience as the former Deputy Commissioner of Vermont can be brought to bear on the difficult problems in Connecticut’s classrooms, schools and educational system at large. And I want to play a role in making the impending changes a positive experience for Connecticut’s youth.

I can help to do exactly that as the Executive Director of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER), which serves as the voice of business and civic leaders around the state.  The 65+ recommendations being advanced by CCER are designed to capitalize on the knowledge that more time with effective teachers in positive, flexible learning environments can help students who start out behind to catch up. They highlight the principles that will help to close the achievement gap in Connecticut, and that will help struggling students to meet high expectations of academic achievement.

The time for excuses is over. These excuses mean nothing to the child who cannot read. I challenge you to look into that child’s eyes and tell him or her that you do not have enough time, that you do not have enough resources, that it is not your problem, that you will not help even though you can. It is time to stop offering excuses. The time is now to turn around our education system in this state.

As the first Executive Director for the Connecticut Council for Education Reform, I am certain that the organization and I will play an important role in the momentous education reforms that are that are poised to take place.

Rae Ann Knopf is the Executive Director of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform.  She was formerly the Vermont Deputy Commissioner of Education Transformation and Innovation. Amongst other accomplishments, prior to serving Vermont’s Department of Education, Rae Ann was the Executive Director, Founder and Head of an innovative residential secondary school for girls experiencing behavioral and emotional challenges.

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