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Lebanon Superintendent Named to Direct State’s Alternate Route to Teacher Certification

HARTFORD, Oct. 18 - James P. McKenna, superintendent of schools in Lebanon, has been named director of the Department of Higher Education’s highly regarded Alternate Route to Certification. The appointment, effective November 27, was announced today by Valerie F. Lewis, Commissioner of higher education, at a meeting of the Board of Governors for Higher Education.

McKenna, of Hebron, has served as Lebanon’s school chief since 1995. Previously, he was principal of Lyman Memorial High School in Lebanon for 10 years and assistant principal for Regional District #8. He began his career as a social studies and English teacher and supervisor in Windsor. McKenna replaces Frank R. Salamon who is retiring from the Alternate Route program after 11 years.

"We are delighted to have a person of Jim’s ability and experience join the Alternate Route, especially as we begin our new weekend session next month," stated Lewis. "Jim brings a great deal of knowledge about curriculum, certification and best practices. He will build on the great work of Frank Salamon. The Alternate Route is known for its top-notch graduates. We are fortunate to have program directors of equal high caliber."

In addition to his teaching and administrative service, McKenna established a professional development school relationship with Eastern Connecticut State University, has been a BEST facilitator for Lebanon Public Schools and has chaired the University Region Superintendents’ Association. McKenna earned his bachelor’s from Central Connecticut State University and master’s from the University of Hartford, and has additional graduate credits from the University of Connecticut and Trinity College. He resides in Hebron with his wife, Susan, and has three grown children.

The Alternate Route program began in 1988 to attract professionals from fields outside of education to teaching. The summer program consists of eight weeks of intensive study and inservice teaching followed by two years of closely supervised teaching. Last year, more than 500 persons applied and 170 graduated of whom 12 percent were from minority groups.

Alternate Route graduates are in hot demand because most teach in shortage fields in Connecticut. Over the last five years, the program has 92 teachers in mathematics, 69 in music, 51 in Spanish, 32 in physics, 27 in chemistry and 6 in Latin. At least 14 have been named Teachers of the Year in cities and towns across the state and 2 have received Milken National Educator Awards. The program’s job placement rate of 70 percent is double that of traditional teacher preparation programs. Applications are now available for the summer 2001 session and are due January 19.

On November 17, the Department of Higher Education is launching a second Alternate Route session to take place on Friday evenings and Saturdays over eight months at Hartford College for Women. Fifty individuals are enrolled in this first academic year session which includes preparation in bilingual education as well as in mathematics, science and languages.


Contact: Connie Fraser
(860)947-1801


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