Board of Education Members


Frank Redente

 
Frank Redente began his career at Farnam Neighborhood House as a volunteer coach, and was hired on a part-time basis working in the Afterschool Program. In 1977, he became the Recreation Coordinator, and was responsible for developing and supervising recreational programs for children who attended the Afterschool and Evening Programs at Farnam during the fall and winter months. Around the same time, the Saturday Biddy Basketball Program was initiated with four teams. This program has grown tremendously under his direction, and today has 32 teams and is known throughout the city and state. Frank is currently in his 41st year. He has worked closely with other service providers in Fair Haven, and was one of the original mediators trained by the Fair Haven Community Mediation Program.
 
In 1990, Mr. Redente became the Camp Farnam Director, serving in this capacity for ten years. Currently, he is the Operations Director, running the evening program. He has touched the lives of many young people during his tenure at Farnam. Many of those same youth are now parents who are actively involved in programs at Farnam with their children. For over 20 years Mr. Redente also worked part-time in the field of housing and property management for C.U.H.O. (Corporation for Urban Home Ownership). Mr. Redentes’s expertise in this area led to his appointment by Mayor John Destefano, Jr. in 2000 to the Livable City Initiative Board of Directors.
 
A life-long resident of Fair Haven, Mr. Redente’s civic involvement includes membership in the Democratic Town Committee for 20 years, serving as 15th Ward Co-Chair for six years. He is former co-chair of the Fair Haven Management Team, and active member of the Fair Haven Weed & Seed Steering Committee, and the Fair Haven Youth Task Force. Mr Redente is also a proud member of the Porcini Club- a benevolent association of gentlemen who raise thousands of dollars for many fine organizations that serve children in our community, as well as a member of St. Donato’s Parish, serving on the parish council. In 2003, he was awarded the Community Spirit award.  In 2006, he received the Gold Ring Award from the Boys and Girls Club for his community involvement. In 2006, he received a Departmental Award for Special Achievement from the City of New Haven- Department of Police Services. 
 
Co-Chair:  Finance & Operations Committee
Term expires:  12/20

fredente@sbcglobal.net

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.
 
Chair:  Teaching & Learning Committee
Term expires: 12/2017

Carlos.Torre@yale.edu

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.

MayorHarp@newhavenct.net

Che Dawson

 
Che Dawson is a longtime youth advocate in the city of New Haven. Mr. 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, Mr. Dawson was Executive Director of Leadership, Education and Athletics in Partnership (LEAP), a youth advocacy organization based in New Haven. He 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.
 
Mr. 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.
 
Mr. 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.
 
Mr. 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.
 
 
Chair: Governance Committee
Term Expires: 12/2017

chedawson@gmail.com

Makayla Dawkins

Makayla Dawkins is a rising junior from James Hillhouse High School. She was the Vice President of her student council, a member of the James Hillhouse math team and has taken various college courses throughout the school year. She is also an educator for Planned Parenthood’s STARS program and firm believer in sexual education. When she isn’t reading or advocating for her peers, you can catch her at a concert or in the mall. She aspires to be a traveling journalist and New York Times best selling author. Makayla wants student government to be implemented in schools across the district and hopes for students to get the best education that they can.
 
Student Representative
Term Expires: 6/2019

makayla82820@gmail.com

Dr. Edward Joyner

 
Dr. Edward Joyner was born in the small rural community of Farmville, North Carolina where he attended segregated schools. He graduated from H. B. Suggs High School in 1965 with honors and attended Elizabeth City State University in Elizabeth City, North Carolina where he graduated with high honors receiving a degree in the Social Sciences.
 
While at Elizabeth City State, Joyner was active in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the vehicle that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. used as the vanguard for the human rights movement.
 
He established the African American History curriculum at Hillhouse High School in 1970 with support from Mr. Thomas Raggozino, the chair of the history department, and Mr. Eugene Vitelli the school’s principal. He received a Master of Arts in Teaching from Wesleyan University in 1973 with high honors and completed his doctoral studies in School Administration at the University of Bridgeport in 1989. He has been an assistant principal and principal at the high and middle school levels, a head basketball coach (community college) and an assistant professor and administrator at the Yale Child Study Center where he was the Executive Director of the School Development Program at Yale, the oldest and most comprehensive school change program in America. He retired from Sacred Heart University in 2013 where he had served as the Director of the Five Year Masters of Arts in Education Program. Over the course of his 8 year tenure at Sacred Heart, Dr, Joyner taught and mentored several hundred teacher education majors. Some are currently employed in the New Haven Public Schools.
 
Dr. Joyner has presented throughout the world and trained educators and social policy makers throughout the United States. He has appeared on BET Tonight, NBC, and ABC addressing issues related to improving schools, especially for minority children. He is the author of the award winning Ebony Guide to Black Student Excellence and has been honored with several other awards in communities throughout the country for his work as an education change agent. He is the co-author of six books addressing the education of poor and/or minority children. They include Rallying the Village and Child by Child, two of the best sellers at Columbia Teachers College Press. He is the lead author of the Field Guide to Comer Schools in Action (Corwin Press, 2005) that describes thirty-five years of work done by the staff of the School Development Program and its founder, Dr. James P. Comer. And he has written chapters in several other books addressing issues of large-scale change in diverse communities. His worked with the ABC television network to  do a retrospective evaluation of  the Black and White kindergartners who integrated the Shaker Heights school system near Cleveland, Ohio several years after the Brown decision. The results were used to create an ABC primetime special on school integration that was shown on August 2005. His favorite quote is taken from the words of one of his intellectual heroes, Dr. Benjamin Mays, who was president of Morehouse College: “When you are born behind in the race of life, you must run faster.”
 
 
Vice-President
Elected Member, District 1 
Term Expires: 12/2017

joyneredward57@yahoo.com

Darnell Goldson

 
Darnell Goldson is was born and raised in New Haven, first attending Ivy Street School, Lincoln Bassett, Sheridan Junior High, and graduating as a merit scholar from James Hillhouse High School. While in his senior year at Hillhouse, Mr. Goldson attended a semester at the University of New Haven, and after graduation, attended Tufts University and NYU.
 
Mr. Goldson has over thirty four (35) years of management, administrative, political and advocacy experience, working in both the public and private fields. After leaving Tufts he joined the staff of Connecticut Congressman Bruce A. Morrison (CT-3); the first presidential campaign of Rev. Jesse Jackson; and various federal, state and local campaigns in and out of New Haven. He was the legislative assistant to the mayor of New Haven; as well as advocacy work for several organizations, including the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), where he spent several years leading that organization’s relief effort in response to Hurricane Katrina. He clerked both the Connecticut State legislature’s Housing and General Law Committees. He led the region’s largest anti-poverty agency, the Community Action Agency, as well as the national YouthBuild program in Massachusetts, where he developed programs to reintegrate high school dropouts into school or alternate educational and training programs. He is currently the Public Relations Director for two companies in northern Connecticut.
 
Mr. Goldson’s overall goal is to contribute to an educational reform movement that puts Kids First.
 
Secretary
Elected Member, New Haven District 2 
Term Expires: 12/2019

dgoldson.nhboe@gmail.com

Jacob Spell

 
Jacob Spell is a rising Junior from Cortlandt V.R. Creed High School. He has lived in New Haven his whole life and is enthusiastic about giving back to the community in any way he can. Jacob wants to serve on the Board of Education to help improve the New Haven Public School learning environment as well as to inspire his peers to use their own unique talents in a positive way. Jacob is involved in many extracurricular activities including the Quinnipiac Netter Health Professions Club, Evolutions, the Creed student council, and the Creed basketball team. He hopes to combine his passion for athletics and health going forward in a career in the medical field. Jacob hopes that his future collaborations will produce the best possible outcomes for students in the New Haven Public School System. 
 
Student Representative
Term Expires: 6/2018


Jamell Cotto

Jamell Cotto was born and raised in New Haven and attended both public and private schools throughout the City of New Haven.  He graduated from Lyman Hall High School in 1995, an alumnus of the Vocational Agriculture Program, a program funded in part by New Haven Public Schools.  Jamel graduated from Goodwin College with an Associate’s Degree and a Bachelor's Degree in Social Sciences with a minor in Psychology, graduating with Honors Cum Laude.  He has also attended Gateway Community College for Early Childhood Education and the University of New Haven for Criminal Justice.
 
Raised by foster parents, Jamell is devoted to the belief that smart, comprehensive Restorative Practices will sever the antiquated “high school-to-prison" pipeline.  With almost 20 years' experience working in the fields of Human Services and Community Advocacy, Jamell is committed to individual and family excellence in the applied helping process.  His vision and holistic approach in fostering positive child and youth development coincides with best practices.
 
Jamell began his professional career at Catholic Charities/Centro San Jose as Youth Program Coordinator in 2012.  Within one year of employment, Jamell was chosen to receive its Leadership Award for his leadership qualities, dedication, and commitment to children, youth and families served by the agency's mission.  Throughout his time with CC/CSJ, Jamell expanded the Youth Program and has provided a safe place with structured activities for over 100 youth in the New Haven community.  Under his management, the Youth Program was recognized with the Work Site Award in 2015 from the City of New Haven’s Youth Services Department.  As a Youth Coordinator, he specializes in an understanding of the human condition and the factors that present barriers and challenges, as well as those that promote successful human functioning within human societal systems.


His perseverance and commitment to the Neighborhood Youth Center programs are driven by his ability to partner with parents, paraprofessionals and teachers.  It was here that Jamell started the first-of-its-kind Lifeguard Training and Certification for at-risk youth with Job Placement Assistance.  In January 2015, Jamell was appointed Board Chair for Rainbow of Life.  In August 2015, Jamell was promoted to Family Center Director for Catholic Charities/Centro San Jose.  More recently, under his leadership at CC/CSJ, he expanded the Food Pantry Program to address the rise in food insecurity within New Haven.  In March 2016, Jamell was Keynote Speaker for the Great Escape’s Charity Breakfast.  Most recently, Jamell was recruited as Executive Director for Farnam Neighborhood House with a start date of November 6, 2017.
 
 In his own words...
 
“We have to change our systems because changing heart takes too long and we are at risk of losing another generation.   There is undiscovered capital within urban communities; the return on this investment is limitless."
 ​ 

Term Expires:  12/2018

cotto2017boe@gmail.com