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Jeffrey Villar

Jeffrey Villar is the Executive Director of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform. He joined the organization in 2013. Prior to coming to CCER, Jeffrey spent 19 years of his career in Connecticut’s public education system–first as an educator and later as an administrator. Most recently, he served as Superintendent of Schools in Windsor, CT. Previously, he was Superintendent of Rocky Hill Public Schools and the Associate Superintendent for Meriden Public Schools. He also spent 5 years as a teacher for Hartford Public Schools. Jeffrey holds a Bachelor’s in History from the Eastern Connecticut State University, a Master’s in Education, and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Connecticut. He lives in Mansfield, CT with his wife, Kelly, and his six children.

CCER and the Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA) Join Forces

We Have Exciting News About the Future of Our Work!

Since its inception, the Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER) has been a strong voice for improving public education. Born out of a gubernatorial commission tasked with developing high-leverage policies to narrow Connecticut’s achievement gap—CCER has been an effective advocate for state-level change. More than twenty of our policy positions were contained in the 2012 omnibus education bill, and we’ve collaborated since then with a wide spectrum of partners to keep improving public education. We’ve participated in state committees, given input to top state officials, and made sure that the needs of Connecticut’s students remained front and center for the legislature, year after year.

At the same time, we’ve worked with Connecticut’s highest-need school districts, providing free, capacity building support—with an emphasis on business-oriented strategies like leadership development, using data to track progress, and strategic planning. Our recent report, Focus: How Longterm Planning Processes Can Improve StateLed Turnaround in Connecticut, held a mirror up to the state’s efforts to turn around the 30 lowest performing school districts. And our very well-attended state conferences have been a consistent forum for educators to discuss best practices that meet student needs.

Now, it’s time to think even bigger.

Recognizing the importance of education to businesses in Connecticut, the Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA) has decided to expand its efforts at improving public education. Since our beginning, we’ve always reflected business views on the need for education reform, and CBIA has been a close ally all along. Our Board of Directors recently voted to join with CBIA in a union that will strengthen our voice in pushing to improve public education.

CCER’s board will continue to guide us from within the CBIA framework. We will be joining their ranks under a new name: the CBIA Education & Workforce Partnership. CBIA has more than 8,000 business members who all have a stake in ensuring that students complete high school ready to succeed. Under this new partnership, we will continue to advance statewide capacity building and policy efforts—while representing the interests and voice of Connecticut businesses. I will become Vice President for Education Policy at CBIA and will continue to work with CCER’s Board.

Our collective resources and connections will both maximize our efforts to improve public education and better represent business interests. We are excited for the potential that this partnership creates.

Under “Every Student Succeeds,” Will Some Children Be Left Behind?

Here we are, at the start of 2016, and the landscape is suddenly significantly different for those looking to improve public education. On December 10th, 2015, President Obama signed into law Every Student Succeeds, which will replace No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The new federal education bill continues to require that schools be held accountable for student outcomes, but it gives control back to states over setting expectations and policing
1outcomes. In that way, it marks a significant shift from the NCLB decade, in which efforts to reform American public schools were federally motivated and funded. But all we know so far is that the new federal bill will grant greater flexibility to states. What we don’t know yet is whether, given that flexibility, Connecticut will remember what it learned under NCLB: namely, that not every student succeeds in our state; indeed, that until things change significantly in our schools, many Connecticut children will be left behind. Under Every Student Succeeds, it is now our responsibility to hold our state accountable for properly educating all students, regardless of race or socio-economic status.Read More »

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