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Wilton Rep. Lavielle Welcomes Nomination Of State Education Leader

State Rep. Gail Lavielle
State Rep. Gail Lavielle Photo Credit: File

WILTON, Conn. -- State Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-143), ranking member of the General Assembly's Education Committee, is praising Gov. Dannel Malloy's nomination of Dianna R. Wentzell to be the new commissioner of the Connecticut State Department of Education.

"I have worked with Dr. Wentzell during this legislative session not only in my role as Education Committee Ranking Member, but also as a member of the Appropriations Committee," Lavielle said in a statement. "She has been consistently responsive to our inquiries, and I am pleased that we have developed a good working relationship.

"As legislators, a solid partnership with our Education Commissioner is vital for ensuring that every student in this state receives a quality education. A rigorous confirmation process will begin shortly in the General Assembly. I look forward to participating actively in that process and to asking the questions about qualifications, strategies, priorities, and management style that are integral to the exercise of due diligence," said Lavielle, who represents Wilton, Westport and Norwalk in the state House. 

Wentzell, who was nominated earlier this month, has been serving as the department’s interim commissioner since January.

“Connecticut is home to incredible students, great teachers, and fantastic schools. Our graduation rates are climbing and achievement gaps are beginning to close," Wentzell said after she was nominated. 

"However, we have much more work to do to ensure that all students are afforded the opportunity and advantages of high-expectations and a high-quality education," she said. "By working together with our educational partners, I will strive to build upon our success, perfect our systems, and continue to improve outcomes for our students.”

Wentzell began her career in education with the Farmington Public Schools system in 1988. Beginning in 1998, Wentzell worked for four years in the East Haddam Public Schools system.

Following that, she worked with the Capitol Region Education Council in Hartford in several roles. In 2008, she began working in the South Windsor Public School system.

She then worked for two years in the Hartford Public Schools system, first as deputy chief academic officer and executive director of professional learning, and then as assistant superintendent of Pre-K through Grade 12 Education.

Wentzell joined the state Department of Education in January 2013 as chief academic officer. She was appointed by the State Board of Education in January 2014 as interim commissioner.

She earned a bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College, a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Hartford.

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