Roszena L. Haskins, who serves as West Hartford’s executive director of Equity Advancement, was named UConn’s Neag School of Education Alumni Board’s 2023 ‘Outstanding Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Professional.’
By Ronni Newton
West Hartford Executive Director of Equity Advancement Roszena Haskins was honored Saturday, March 11 as the 2023 Outstanding Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Professional by the University of Connecticut’s Neag School of Education Alumni Board at the organization’s 25th annual Alumni Awards Celebration.
Haskins, who in July 2022 was promoted from her role as director of Equity Advancement for West Hartford Public Schools to the executive director position that encompasses both the school district and the town, works with all local leaders to increase their awareness; expand dispositions; actively eliminate boundaries; monitor and evaluate programs focused on equity, diversity, and inclusion; and develop policy and professional development programming.
She earned her doctorate in education from UConn’s Neag School of Education in 2017, and prior to her current position led the West Hartford Public Schools’ Office of Equity Advancement for six years and worked closely with the West Hartford Board of Education as it crafted Educational Equity Policy 1800, which was adopted in 2021.
She began her career as a special education teacher in Hamden, CT, and was previously principal of West Hartford’s Sedgwick Middle School and an assistant principal at Conard High School. She was honored with the Bridge Family Center’s “Build No Fences” award in 2011, for her work with students and families and in 2021 was honored statewide with the George Coleman Excellence in Equity Award.
She designed and implemented the district’s first-ever and largest professional Equity for Excellence Conference for more than 1,000 educators and administrators. The announcement of her Neag award noted that this professional equity platform “was inspired by her co-creation of a high-tech multimedia exhibit focusing on West Hartford residents’ personal stories, funded by a $50,000 Inspiring Equity Grant from the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund.”
Haskins’ accolades also include the State Education Resource Center’s Excellence in Equity Award, West Hartford’s “Hometown Hero,” and 100 Women of Color for Connecticut.
Ann Traynor, Neag School’s assistant dean and certification officer and one of those who nominated Haskins, said in the announcement that “Leaders must create and foster equitable educational conditions and experiences for students and educators while sometimes managing hostile public resistance to implementing those efforts. Dr. Haskins has managed to do this with grace, strength, and compassion. The multiple awards and articles about her work illustrate her contribution to equity in West Hartford, Connecticut, and beyond.”
“With over 30 years in education, we can say with great confidence we have found no person who can better articulate and implement programming that advances equity for students, staff, and families more than Dr. Roszena Haskins,” nominators Anne McKernan, assistant superintendent for administration at West Hartford Public Schools, and Paul Vicinus, assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction, and assessment at West Hartford Public Schools, said in the announcement of Haskins’ most recent honor.
“West Hartford could not have a more dedicated, authentic, and skilled person leading this work. We are a more equitable and connected community due to Dr. Haskins’ work. Dr. Haskins makes West Hartford proud, and we are assured that the University of Connecticut will be proud to honor this distinguished alumna,” McKernan and Vicinus added.
According to the UConn’s Neag School of Education, the award is given annually to a graduate “who demonstrates excellence and has made significant contributions to their profession.”
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