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West Hartford Resident Elected President of Watkinson Board of Trustees

From left: Kathleen Kane-Francalangia, Wendy Avery, Nancy Wheeler. Photo courtesy of Watkinson School

Watkinson School has elected Kathleen Kane-Francalangia as president and Nancy Wheeler as vice president of the Board of Trustees.

Submitted by Jenni French, Watkinson School

Watkinson School, a co-ed independent day school for grades 6-12/PG offering inventive teaching to Hartford and surrounding communities since 1881, is pleased to announce that Kathleen Kane-Francalangia of West Hartford, has been elected president of its Board of Trustees effective July 1, 2024. Kane-Francalangia succeeds Wendy Avery (West Hartford), director of Marketing and Communications at Corridor Ventures. Nancy Wheeler (Northampton, MA) has been elected to succeed Kane-Francalangia as vice president.

Kane-Francalangia has served on Watkinson’s Board for 12 years, beginning on the Development Committee and subsequently serving as chair of that committee for the past four years. She also served on the 2016 Strategic Planning Committee. She has worked on all 12 “A Watkinson Affair” gala events and has chaired the Gala Committee for the past seven years. She joined the Executive Committee in 2017 and has served as vice president for four years.

In 2022, Kane-Francalangia was named Watkinson’s Philanthropist of the Year, a distinction given to an individual or family with a history of exceptional generosity who sets the highest example of leadership which, in turn, encourages others to take philanthropic roles in the Watkinson community.

Wheeler is the president of WheelerConnect, a consulting firm she founded in 2019 after more than 15 years as senior vice president and then interim president and CEO of MetroHartford Alliance. Wheeler steps into the role of vice president with decades of experience on Hartford-area boards, including chairing the Billings Forge Community Works (now Forge City Works) Board for five years; and serving on the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame Board of Directors for six years. Wheeler did consulting work for Watkinson from 2019-2020 and joined the board in 2023.

Avery chaired Watkinson’s Board for seven years and was a member for 10 years.

Head of School Teri Schrader said, “Through Wendy’s work we have expanded and deepened the school community.” Avery was a tireless advocate of a Watkinson education, and as such drew new families and friends into our community. Avery’s profound respect for the way in which the school lives its mission fueled her work to bring Watkinson to the attention of many who were previously unfamiliar with the school’s steadfast commitment to a vigorous intellectual program in the context of a truly inclusive community.

“We are delighted to have someone with the leadership and passion Kathleen brings to the role of board chair. Having Nancy, who has such deep connections throughout the region and extensive governance experience, as her partner is a very powerful combination for our board,” said Schrader. “I am excited to partner with Kathleen and Nancy as we continue to expand Watkinson’s impact in the Greater Hartford community.”

Watkinson School, a co-educational independent private day school for grades 6-12/PG,  is Hartford’s oldest independent school.  Watkinson’s next info sessions for prospective students are July 10 and August 7 at 6 p.m.

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