Board of Education Members

Michael R. Nast

Michael R. Nast, a graduate of New Haven Public Schools and Fordham University, was Superintendent of Stamford Public Schools from 1994 to 1999, having risen through the ranks of Stamford's school system from high school principal to the top post. He started his career as a science teacher at James Hillhouse High School. Administrative positions held in New Haven include chairman of the Science Department at Hillhouse, assistant principal at Wilbur Cross High School and principal at Cross.
Upon retiring from the Superintendent's position in Stamford, Mr. Nast served as an educational consultant to many school districts in New England and New York, worked for the Education Alliance at Brown University, and served as interim Superintendent for both the Amity Region 5 and New Hartford School Districts. He currently is an adjunct professor in the University of Connecticut Administrative Preparation Program and is a consultant to the Center for Secondary School Redesign in Rhode Island. 
Co-Chair: Governance Committee
Term Expires: 12/2016

Dr. Carlos Antonio Torre

Dr. Carlos Antonio Torre earned three degrees at Harvard University: an Ed.M. in Human Development; a Certificate of Advance Studies in Administration, Planning and Social Policy; and a Doctorate of Education. He is, currently, Professor of Education at Southern Connecticut State University; former President of the New Haven, Connecticut Board of Education (member: 1993-2003 also 2006 to the present); and a Fellow at Yale University, where he served for seven years as Assistant Dean of the College and a member of the Psychology faculty. Dr. Torre is an elected member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences of Puerto Rico and was awarded the Academy's Medal of the Academician. Other awards include: the Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology and the Life Sciences' first award for "humanitarian, ground-breaking contributions to the understanding of the mind through the application of dynamical science perspectives to educational psychology"; the Connecticut Association of Latin Americans in Higher Education (CALAHE) award "for contributions made toward the improvement of educational opportunities for Hispanics in higher education"; and others. Through the use of Recurrence Quantification Analysis, Dr. Torre's research seeks to identify characteristic patterns in the autonomic nervous system associated with particular emotions, (i.e., the emotions children experience as they learn). His publications include: articles on non-linear dynamics applied to education; a book-length research monograph on the triadic nature of the mind and university students' quality of thinking; chapters on educators "Eugenio Maria de Hostos and "Michael Apple"; an edited volume on Puerto Rican Migration; and a book in-progress on the "Ecology of Education.

Term expires: 12/2017

Susan R. Samuels

Susan R. Samuels came to New Haven to attend Quinnipiac University. Later, Ms. Samuels graduated from Connecticut School of Broadcasting in 1987, attended Albertus Magnus College in 1990, and most recently became an honors graduate of the medical assistant/secretary program at Sawyer School (2006). She is a Justice of the Peace, and an independent contractor with the United States Social Security Office of Disability Adjudication and Review.

Co-Chair: Teaching & Learning Committee
Term expires 12/2015

Mayor Toni N. Harp

An abiding commitment to social justice steers Toni Harp’s career in public service. Over time she earned a reputation as “the conscience of the Senate” at the Capitol. Her drive for inclusiveness, equality, and integrity is the byproduct of resonant, across-the-board life experiences.

Toni was raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, the youngest of six children; an African-American Baptist in a primarily white, almost universally Mormon community. Both of her parents worked to support the family. Her mother was a Teamster and worked for Greyhound Bus Lines while her father worked for the Santa Fe Railroad.

Toni’s tireless work ethic is a function of lessons learned from her parents.

In the 1960s, Toni moved to the south side of Chicago to attend college. She earned a degree and began working for the American Society of Planning Officials. Her lifelong interest in urban planning and how cities work can be traced to that first job. From there, Toni was recruited to study at Yale’s School of Architecture where she earned a Master’s degree.

One of Toni’s early lessons about the rewards of activism was the result of a social justice matter when she worked – coincidentally – for the City of New Haven. Toni helped organize AFSCME Local 3144, a management union, and she became the Human Resources Department’s first union steward.

Toni’s enduring respect for working people and her tireless advocacy for issues important to all citizens has been unwavering since.

Toni’s public service in elected office began, first as a member of New Haven’s Board of Aldermen, and then, for the past 20 years, as Senator for the 10th District.

Throughout her distinguished tenure, Toni’s signature issues have never waivered:

—Full access to affordable healthcare, regardless of ethnic, cultural, or economic differences.

—A responsive and effective public safety network working hand-in-hand with an equitable criminal justice system.

—Maximizing opportunity for each individual student through public education, with particular emphasis on early childhood learning and development of reading skills.

—Job creation and economic development so city residents can enjoy the rewards and responsibilities of productive engagement, and so a vibrant city can provide necessary services without putting an excessive burden on taxpayers.

Then-Senator Harp recently co-chaired the state’s Achievement Gap Task Force, created to address the undeniable disparity in educational access and performance, which exists along ethnic, cultural, aharp_children.jpgnd socioeconomic lines. Recommendations made by the task force helped the state live up to its Constitutional mandate to provide every student an equal educational opportunity and meet our moral obligation to prepare the next generation for responsible, productive lives.

Earlier this year, Mayor Harp played a pivotal role -- as senator -- in passing Connecticut’s new law to address Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety. Toni was co-chair of the Mental Health Services Working Group, making recommendations built into the new law about providing mental health first aid services and taking advantage of enhanced behavioral health screening opportunities.

Toni has lived in New Haven for more than 40 years and works as the Homeless Service Director at the Cornell Scott Hill Health Center. She is the proud mother of three grown and accomplished children—Djana, Jamil, and Matthew.

Click here to visit the Mayor's Web Site.

Dr. Alex Johnston

Formerly the CEO of ConnCAN, Dr. Alex Johnston now develops and implements strategies for philanthropists on education reform advocacy and political initiatives. After helping to found ConnCAN in 2004, Alex led what is now regarded as one of the nation’s leading state-level education reform organizations for seven years. Prior to that, Alex was Director of Operations at the New Haven Housing Authority, working as a member of the management team tasked with turning the agency around from the brink of receivership. A graduate of Harvard University, Alex received a D. Phil. in politics from Oxford’s Lincoln College on a Rhodes Scholarship, where he studied the impact of government funding on nonprofit service providers. Alex chairs the board of the Policy Innovators in Education Network and is Stewardship Co-Chair at St Paul and St James Church in Wooster Square.
Term Expires: 12/2015

Che Dawson

Che Dawson is a longtime youth advocate in the city of New Haven. Dawson is the director of operations for Amistad Elementary School in New Haven. Previously, he worked as assistant director of operations at Success Charter Network, a New York-based public charter school organization. He served as Youth Services Director for the city of New Haven, where he oversaw youth programs and policy development. As Youth Services Director, he led development of the city's Comprehensive Youth Plan and implemented job-readiness and financial literacy training for youth. Dawson also helped develop the Street Outreach Worker Program and the Open Schools Initiative.
Prior to joining the city, Dawson was Executive Director of Leadership, Education and Athletics in Partnership (LEAP), a youth advocacy organization based in New Haven. Dawson started at LEAP as a site coordinator, mentoring at-risk youth and coordinating after-school programs. He moved up the ranks, serving various positions in the organization before being named director.
Dawson was named a National Urban Fellow in 2002 and provided guidance to Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan and his chief of staff on administrative matters. He also designed youth enrichment programming, analyzed academic programming in schools, raised funds for visually impaired students and communicated to 1,200 central staff in the school district.
Dawson earned a Master's Degree in Public Administration from Baruch College, School of Public Affairs in New York and he has a Bachelor of Arts degree in physics from Adelphi University in New York.
Dawson volunteers with the Farnam Neighborhood House. He has also served as a tutor and mentor in New Haven Public Schools, as boys' basketball coach for Platt Regional Vocational Technical School in Milford, and as co-chairman of the Mayor's Youth Initiative in New Haven.
Co-Chair: Governance Committee
Term Expires: 12/2017

Daisy Y. Gonzalez

As PTO president at East Rock Community Magnet School and an active parent volunteer, Daisy Y. Gonzalez has worked tirelessly on behalf of the hundreds of children in New Haven.

Gonzalez has a son in the seventh grade at East Rock Community Magnet School, where she serves as president of the Parent Teacher Organization. She also has a 17-year-old son at Gateway Community College, who previously attended East Rock School and graduated from Eli Whitney Technical High School. Gonzalez served as a volunteer on the School-Based Building Advisory Committee for the new East Rock School building that opened on the first day of school last month.
Gonzalez is also an active member of the district’s Citywide Parent Leadership Team, an open group of parent leaders that aims to bring parents from schools throughout the district together to collectively tackle important issues and to work collaboratively to improve schools. Through her volunteer work at the school level, Gonzalez is a fixture at PTO meetings, report card night, orientation, field trips and other school events. She is active in her community as a member of the East Rock Community Management Team. 
Chair: Operations & Finance Committee
Term expires: 12/2018

Alicia Caraballo

Alicia Caraballo received her Master’s of Science degree in Social Work from Columbia
University and later 6th year degree in Educational Leadership from Southern Connecticut
State University. Ms. Caraballo has served the district for 25 years beginning as a social
worker. She served in administrative roles as Assistant Principal of Hill Central to Principal,
and shortly after Director of New Haven Adult & Continuing Education where she served 10
Ms. Caraballo serves as a board member at The Community Foundation of New Haven, and
Neighborhood Music School. She received Fulbright scholarship and spent time in Argentina
and Brazil. She retired from the school district but continues to utilize her skills in her
volunteer efforts.
Co-Chair Teacher & Learning Committee
Term Expires: 12/2016

Coral Ortiz

Coral Ortiz is a rising Junior from James Hill House High School. She currently serves as captain of her Debate team, and volunteers her time at the Griffin Hospital and a support group for children with special needs. She is also involved in the Educational Center for the Arts, and enjoys to participate in their theatre program. She aspires to go into the medical field to become a doctor specifically a pulmonologist, oncologist, or neurologist. Coral also wants to make herself available to the student body with the goal of improving the learning environment within New Haven Public Schools to ensure that every student is learning to their fullest capacity.
Student Representative
Term Expires: 6/2017

Kimberly Sullivan

Kimberly Sullivan is a rising Senior from Sound School. Kimberly loves New Haven and all of the opportunities it has blessed her with. She believes that when she runs across bad experiences she can either run away or stick around to make a difference. Kimberly has been active in the student council, SADD, Key Club, EVOLUTIONS, book club, and band where she learned to play the trumpet. Kimberly would like to see a more diverse representation of student voice, she believes whether your interests include art, athletics, or academics, each students interests and learning styles are diverse and is what makes a strong community and school system. Kimberly aspires to teach music in New Haven Public Schools one day and wants to focus on individual learning goals instead of just testing. 
Student Representative
Term Expires: 6/2016