Government Schools

West Hartford Public Schools Appoints Executive Director of Equity Advancement

Theresa Rangel has been named Executive Director of Diversity Advancement for West Hartford Public Schools. Courtesy photo

Theresa Rangel will become the executive director of Equity Advancement for West Hartford Public Schools.

By Ronni Newton

West Hartford Superintendent of Schools Paul Vicinus announced Wednesday that Theresa Rangel has been appointed as West Hartford Public Schools’ executive director of Equity Advancement, and will begin her new position effective Sept. 1, 2023.

“Theresa is a dynamic and inspiring leader with incredible talent for collaboration and consensus building,” Vicinus said in a statement. “Her vision and experience within the realm of diversity, equity and inclusion will greatly enhance and enable our district vision to clear paths with a relentless duty to those in traditionally marginalized groups. We are excited to have her on our leadership team and leading our district’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion mission.”

Rangel is currently the DEI Director for the Naugatuck Public Schools and has nine years of building and curriculum leadership in the Norwalk Public Schools, Newington Public Schools, and Danbury Public Schools, according to Executive Director of Human Resources Julio Duarte. She began her career in Danbury Public Schools, as an elementary school teacher.

Rangel is very excited to take on her new role in West Hartford.

“I have always admired West Hartford for its unwavering commitment to creating spaces of access and belonging,” said Rangel. “In a time where it is easy to get distracted by all that could divide us, I am determined to work side by side with our community to unite us around being who our students and staff need us to be so that they can stay inspired and prepared to make our world a better place. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to join the team and bring my skills and passion to the West Hartford community.”

“Her wealth of both leadership and classroom experience will serve to add critical input and perspective to West Hartford’s Executive Leadership Team and the district overall,” said Duarte. In her role, she will directly contribute and support district strategic planning, professional learning, curriculum enhancement and support for developing optimal learning environments.

Rangel fill the position vacated by Roszena Haskins, who resigned effective June 30, 2023 to take a position as deputy superintendent of schools for Niles Township High School District 219 in Skokie, Illinois – the district now led by Tom Moore, West Hartford’s longtime superintendent. Haskins had also been responsible for equity advancement in the town, efforts which continue to be managed by Equity Coordinator Adrienne Billings-Smith.

Wednesday’s announcement highlights some of Rangel’s accomplishments – which include “the development of a district equity framework that aims to enhance organizational capacity to increase equitable outcomes for all students; establishment of community partnerships; development of innovative strategies for recruitment, hiring, training, and retaining a diverse staff, and facilitating opportunities for student voice within curricular and extracurricular activities.”

Vicinus noted that her impact in Naugatuck extended far beyond the school system. As a former principal, she also led efforts to “enhance student achievement, decrease achievement gaps across all subgroups and attain national Blue-Ribbon status.”

“She brings outstanding perspective, vision, intelligence, human relations skills, communication and partnering skills that will greatly contribute to team cohesiveness and the establishment of and sustainment of strong community partnerships,” Vicinus said.

Rangel is a graduate of the University of Connecticut’s Executive Leadership Program. She has a bachelor’s degree in elementary and Spanish education and a master’s degree in instructional technology from Western Connecticut State University as well as a master’s in education administration from Sacred Heart University.

In 2019, she received the “Child of America Award” from the Carver Foundation and in 2018 she was a Darling Shaw Outstanding Alumni Award winner from Western Connecticut State University.

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