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Monday, December 21, 2015

Goodbye to a Leader at LEARN

Posted by Mike Rubano in General  |  Post a comment

One of the great things about LEARN is that our employees stay here for a long time. In many cases, they choose to live out their careers here because of our mission and the people we serve. Over the past few months, there have been a few people that have retired from LEARN that we would like to specifically recognize. Linda Dadona, Principal of CTRA. Paul Carolan, Principal of RMMS. Julie Leis, Developmental Educator. Patricia “Pip” Fritzsche and Linda Spencer, both Developmental Educators. In my short time here- (a month to be exact), one person in particular, has had a significant impact on me.  For this reason, I’ve chosen to feature the leader from my department, the Development Department. A leader is defined by the people they serve and how they collaborate with them to drive a culture that breeds innovation. At LEARN, there is no doubt that when thinking of a leader, Doreen Marvin, Director of Development at LEARN fits the bill. Ask anyone around the office. LEARN’s success over the years directly correlates with Doreen’s initiative, drive and her numerous and outstanding accomplishments. At the end of this month, Doreen will be stepping down from the day to day responsibilities of being the Director of Development and she will be missed by everyone who has worked with her.

Doreen’s 31 years at LEARN started on September 10th, 1984. She began as a substitute Speech Pathologist in LEARN’s Special Education program, working in a school with just 4 classrooms. Her desire to teach and passion for education led to her rapid transition into a Team Leader role at LEARN. It was here that she developed the skills in developing curriculum and helping to navigate relationships in school buildings that built the foundations for her future success. For the past 17 years, Doreen has paved the way as the Director of Development. Her original focus of the position was to serve external needs of superintendents and develop more magnet schools. Quickly, her focus switched into a scope of so much more. She formed productive partnerships with top organizations such as Pfizer and the Smithsonian. She developed relationships with other educators throughout the country, and helped put LEARN on the map nationally as a premier education agency.

“My head is filled with so much new information from things that I would have never learned if it wasn’t for LEARN,” said Doreen. “This place has really taught me so much about the world.”

She studied and applied the works of Edward Demmings on TQM (Total Quality Management) and worked with Susan Ledick on strategic planning, applying these principles to LEARN, enabling it to grow and expand at a rapid rate.

“Doreen’s success at LEARN is impressive. Under her leadership, LEARN has become both a regional and national model for magnet schools,” said Dr. Eileen Howley, Director of LEARN. “She is a creative and critical thinker who knows how to forge partnerships and develop relationships that foster a broad array of services and programs. Her approach shaped the development of LEARN.”

Abby Dolliver, Superintendent of Norwich Public Schools said “Doreen is the number one facilitator that I know. I always look to her for advice. She’s a can do person and that is so encouraging to work with.”

Doreen’s accomplishments at LEARN have been immense. During her tenure at LEARN, one of her instrumental projects she worked on was developing a Preschool Enhancement Program for the homeless, and formed a partnership with TVCCA. It runs on very small funding, but is highly successful. To Doreen, that is her favorite accomplishment. She also served in developing excellent schools focused on equity and social justice regardless of the school’s theme or location. The thing she’ll miss most about LEARN is working with a team of people who strive to collaborate every day.

“Having good leadership at LEARN has been an inspiration and a privilege,” Doreen says of the past Executive Directors at LEARN. There have only been three in 50 years. “I am so thankful to have been given so much opportunity to learn and grow. LEARN has grown into a real national presence.”

Monday, December 21st, will be Doreen’s last official day as the Director of Development for LEARN. Although she will still be present as the PEACE Grant Facilitator, she is symbolically packing up her office. Anyone who’s worked with Doreen will miss her fun, enthusiastic and caring nature. We will miss the 10:30 AM “is it time for lunch yet” question that she is so prone to asking.

A great leader is someone that see’s potential in the people around them and elevates everyone in a positive way. Doreen is truly a leader and someone who is appreciated by her peers for the success and growth that she has continuously created.

“They cannot replace Doreen. Her ability to see through the clutter and create practical solutions to complex problems, her ability to mold and match process to individuals that she is supporting is second to none. Not to mention she is forthright. I was always lucky to be able to count on her.”- Peter Swatsburg, Former Superintendent of Ledyard Public Schools. Friend and mentor of Doreen. 

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