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James and Leona Clerkin '99, '98 MS
James & Leona Clerkin '99, '98 MS
Principal of House of Arts, Letters and Sciences Academy in New Britain; Guidance Counselor at Louis P. Slade Middle School (New Britain)

James and Leona Clerkin have dedicated their lives to education. Leona ’98 M.S. is the principal at House of Arts, Letters and Sciences Academy in New Britain and coordinator of the district’s fine arts and gifted and talented programs. James ’99 M.S. is a guidance counselor at Louis P. Slade Middle School, also in New Britain. Both say their experience at the University of New Haven helped to shape their careers and strengthen their conviction in the value of a good education.

What Motivates:

“Going to UNH and getting my master’s opened me up to a whole new career and profession,” James says. “It’s provided Leona and me a world of opportunity.” Leona says the experience prepared her for her career and has inspired her to keep working toward her Ph.D. in education. Both say they feel the caliber of the program exceeded that of their undergraduate experiences at other Connecticut colleges.

“I think the internship program that we both went through as part of the master’s program was the best experience you could have, far better than any textbook could provide,” James says “You need to be dedicated, but it’s worth it. The exposure to education in the classroom – you can’t put a dollar value on that.”

Why They Give:

“I think it’s important to give back,” James says. “I feel a sense of value in my school. I think UNH was sort of an unknown secret when we were there. Now it seems like they’re really growing and will continue growing and improving. If our dollars can help, that’s great.”