2000 Honoree Gives Keynote Speech at UConn

Desi Nesmith, 2000 Alma Exley Scholarship recipient, was the keynote speaker at a dinner reception hosted by the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut on October 27, 2009.

Two other previous recipients, Miguel Cardona (1998), and Giulietta Romero (2007), also attended the event celebrating diversity in education by recognizing and supporting students of color pursuing a career in education. Mr. Cardona is principal of Hanover Elementary School, Meriden, and Ms. Romero is a kindergarten teacher at Robinson Elementary School, Manchester.

Attendees included students at the Neag School as well as students from the Teacher Preparation Academy at Bulkeley High School in Hartford.

Mr. Nesmith, principal of SAND Elementary School in Hartford, urged the students to benefit from the experience and support of their teachers and academic advisors. And he advised them to remain open to new experiences and opportunities in their education and career, even though they may not seem relevant at the time. He recounted experiences from his years at UConn and early in his career that enabled him to grow and mature as an educator.

He began his career as a fifth grade teacher at Mayberry Elementary School in East Hartford, where he was named Teacher of the Year. He also served as Teacher in Residence at the State Department of Education and Intervention Specialist in the Hartford Public Schools before being appointed principal in the summer of 2009.

Dr. Thomas DeFranco, dean of the Neag School, who hosted the event, underlined the need for more teachers of color by pointing out that while students of color comprise 39 percent of public school students under 18 in Connecticut, persons of color account for only 7 percent of the teaching profession statewide.

Posted October 28, 2009