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Leake, Donna
Coordinator of Internships and Department Recruitment
Arts & Sciences
Saw Mill

    Donna P. Leake, Ph.D., has been a teacher since the age of seven when she “taught” her dad to read. She believes that teachers ultimately have the potential to improve the quality of lives for students of all ages. Since receiving her first teaching certificate Donna has provided over 30 years of service to public school students in Connecticut. She served as a teacher at the elementary, middle and high school levels. Believing that all children provided with high quality culturally responsive educational programming are able to learn, she widened her potential for impact through service as a public school administrator in rural, urban and suburban areas. Her administrative roles include: Curriculum Coordinator for the areas of Mathematics, Science and Technology, Elementary Principal, Assistant Superintendent and Superintendent. In these roles she is most proud of her work in designing K-12 curriculum programs for students correlated with professional development programs for teachers and administrators.

    Through years of experience in providing professional development programs for staff, Donna recognized that providing good models of professional practice to teachers early in their careers leads to the greatest benefits, As a result she became an adjunct instructor over 10 years ago at the University of New Haven.  More recently, she became the Coordinator of the Internship Program at UNH, which provides her with multiple opportunities to affect the professional career development of new professionals.

    Donna attempts to model through her own actions the importance of continued personal growth by engaging in new and challenging learning experiences. Believing that to better understand the learning challenges children encounter, an educator should participate in learning experiences that are uniquely different from any prior learning experiences, she has been engaged in a study of the Arabic language. Driven by her desire to provide culturally responsive instruction for all students, Donna also participates in the educational outreach programs offered through Yale and NYU. She recently served as a co-Primary Investigator of a Fulbright Study Abroad project in Morocco that allowed her to combine and further pursue many of her beliefs and interests.

    Donna was recently awarded a 2015 Teachers Educating Across Cultures in Harmony (TEACH) fellowship by the Bilateral US-Arab Chamber. She will be visiting classrooms and educators and meeting with business leaders in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Bahrain. TEACH was launched in 2009 as a vehicle to provide US educators an opportunity to visit the Middle East and gain insight into the culture, challenges, and opportunities experienced by their peers.



    Ph.D. Education

    University of Connecticut (1983)

    Majors: Administration, Curriculum and Instruction, Science Curriculum.

    Minor: Educational Research (quantitative and qualitative field research)

    Dissertation Title: The Effect of Computer Programming Instruction in BASIC and Logo on the Learner's Ability to Analyze Mathematical Word Problems

    M.A. Education

    Fairfield University (1976)

    B.S. Elementary Education

    University of Connecticut (1974) 

    Professional Experience

    University of New Haven – West Haven, CT

    Coordinator of Internships and Department Recruitment (2012-present)

    Adjunct Faculty (2002-present)

    Sprague School District – Sprague, CT

    Superintendent of Schools (2011-2012)

    Salem School District – Salem, CT

    Superintendent of Schools (2005-2011)

    Cheshire School District – Cheshire, CT

    Elementary Principal (1994-2005); Assistant Superintendent (1989-1994);

    K-12 Curriculum Coordinator of Mathematics, Science, Technology and Health; Supervisor Elementary Guidance; Supervisor Talented/Gifted; District Standardized Testing Program Coordinator K-12; District Facilitator State of Connecticut B.E.S.T. and Assessor Programs (1987-1989)

    Waterbury School District – Waterbury, CT

    Director/Evaluator Priority Schools; Coordinator Testing K-12, Staff Development and Magnet School Program (1984-1987); Computer Coordinator K-12 (1983-1984); Teacher K-12 (1974-1983) 

    Licensure & Certifications

    • Superintendent's Certificate, State of Connecticut, 1989
    • Intermediate Administrative Certificate, State of Connecticut, 1981
    • Secondary Mathematics Certificate, State of Connecticut, 1981
    • Elementary Education Certificate, State of Connecticut, 1974 

    Awards and Recognition

    • Fulbright GPA—Global Classrooms and Cultural Connections for the 21st Century Learners: Morocco’s Bountiful Perspectives 2014
    • Honorary Membership – Connecticut Geographic Alliance 2013
    • Learning Uniting Children in Diversity Grant Award – State of Connecticut 1998-2000
    • Educational Policy Fellow: The Institute for Educational Leadership, Inc. 1985
    • National Science Teachers Association, S.T.A.R, Award, 1989
    • Arab Bi-Lateral Chamber of Commerce 2015 TEACH Fellowship
    • Photos displayed as part of the University of New Haven Seton Hall Gallery exhibit: Islamic Art and Influence
    • Photo selected for the University of Arizona, Center for Middle Eastern Studies 24th annual photography exhibit: “Labor and Leisure”

    Professional Service

    • CABE/CAPPS Convention Committee.
    • Connecticut Superintendents’ International Committee.
    • Connecticut Geographic Alliance.
    • Next Generation Science Standards State of Connecticut Review Committee - May 2012

    Community Service

    • Center for Hospice Care Volunteer
    • Mystic Seaport Volunteer
    • Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center Guild Volunteer
    • Architectural Review Commission, Town of Old Saybrook

    Professional Affiliations

    • Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents
    • Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
    • National Science Teachers Association
    • National Council for the Social Studies
    • Phi Beta Kappa 

    Professional Courses and Seminars Attended

    • Global Movements: Migration, Trafficking and Tourism. Yale Summer Institute 2012
    • Religion and Politics in the Middle East. Yale Summer Institute, 2011
    • Ethnicity and Social Change along the Silk Road. Yale Summer Institute 2010
    • Health and Conflict in the Middle East. Yale Summer Institute, 2009
    • Arabic Language Private Study. ABC Language Exchange. 2009-12
    • Arabic Language Courses. University of New Haven 2013-present
    • Arab Culture Course. University of New Haven 2013

    Presentations and Publications

    • Logistics and Curriculum Development Specialist, Climate Change and Food Security. PIER Summer Institute 2015, Yale University.
    • Geography and History in the Grades 6/7 Course. Presented at Connecticut Council of Social Studies Fall conference 2015.
    • Deepening cultural understanding and appreciation within students through in-country and virtual educational dialogues among teachers. Yankee Post, publication of the Connecticut Council for the Social Studies, December 2014. Donna P. Leake and Tim Flanagan.
    • Global Classrooms and Cultural Connections for the 21st Century Learners: Morocco’s Bountiful Perspectives. Presented at National Council for Social Studies. Boston, 2014
    • Catch the Salem Spirit: Superintendent Bi-Monthly Community Updates, 2006-11 (Recipient Connecticut Boards of Education Communication Award)
    • Educating for High Performance, Science Quest, A.C.E.S. Exchange, 1993.
    • Science Quest: Promising and Exemplary Programs and Materials in Elementary and Secondary Schools Science. Science Education Information Report, December 1990.
    • Science Quest: Research on Teaching and Learning: Enhancing Elementary Students' Attitudes toward Science. Science Education International, June 1991.
    • Science Quest: A Program That Works. Science and Children, 27(8), 20-21
    • Implementing an Effective Elementary Science Program: The Process and Effect on Student Attitudes. William C. Kyle, Jr., Ronald J. Bonnstetter, Maria A. Sedotti and Donna Dvarskas. Presented at the 62nd Annual Conference of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST)