Connecticut Tools for Schools Heroes
Connecticut Tools for Schools Heroes!
Each year, the CT School Indoor Environment Resource Team chooses a person who has shown leadership in addressing school indoor environmental quality and has championed the Tools for Schools Program. Here are our winners so far:
We are especially excited this year to present the award to 2 CT Tools for School Heroes! This is because we wanted to recognize, endorse and publicize the fact that at least 2 CT school districts have dedicated staff assigned to their Tools for Schools program. This is important because it shows that these 2 districts recognize the importance of providing support for their Tools for Schools program.
JoAnn Duncan, Westport School District: JoAnn Duncan has many years’ experience with school IEQ issues and Tools for Schools. She has been the Tools for Schools coordinator for Westport Schools for the last 9 years, and before that was coordinator for the Ridgefield district for 4 years. She was also a parent TfS team member in Ridgefield. She has basically “wrote the book” on how to be a district TfS coordinator.
Aleris Echevarria is an Operations Development Specialist in the Office of Operations for the Hartford school district. For the past 2 years, she has led a major project to re-instate the Tools for Schools program in the 47 schools in the district. This has included coordinating the recruitment of TfS team members in each school, scheduling the many training sessions, and most importantly, following up with the teams to make sure they do their tasks.
Alfred Pullo, Director of Business Services & Operations for the Woodbridge School District, is the 2016 Tools for Schools Hero.
Mr. Pullo launched the Tools for Schools (TfS) initiative approximately four years ago, at the request of the Woodbridge Superintendent of Schools. Under Mr. Pullo’s leadership, the Woodbridge School District has built a comprehensive and effective TfS program, with practices that have been useful to programs statewide. These include:
- Expanded TfS teams that include the school medical advisor, QVHD health inspector, science teacher, kitchen supervisor, and facilities manager.
- Annual calendar of the committee including scheduling of meetings, walk-throughs, and action planning sessions.
- Written follow up letters to each staff member thanking them for allowing inspections of their classrooms, confirming findings, and listing any corrective action items for follow up. This practice is now recommended to all TfS teams statewide.
- Annual presentations to faculty and the Board of Education highlighting the work of the committee as well as their findings and actions taken as a result of findings.
Mr Pullo Presenting Tools for Schools at BOE meeting
Ralph Pemberton, Region 19 school district Director of Building and Grounds is this year’s Connecticut IAQ Tools for Schools Hero. He is being recogized for his work in the district and as a CSIERT representative for the Connecticut School Building and Grounds Association. Mr. Pemberton has played a key role in encouraging Connecticut school building and grounds directors to adopt the TfS program. He has also been a leader in working with CSIERT agencies and organizations to assist school districts in implementing the 2009 School Green Cleaning Products law. (Mr. Pemberton has since retired.)
John Laudano, a sanitarian from the Quinnipiack Valley Health District, was awarded for his exceptional support to the schools in his health district in the implementation of TfS and ensuring healthy conditions in area schools. The award was based on these factors:
- John is well-versed in IAQ technical issues and has been a great resource for the schools
- John worked closely with the Amity, Hamden and North Haven school districts in applying and winning national EPA Tools for Schools Excellence awards
- John (and other staff) regularly conduct indoor environmental quality inspections of schools in the area districts, encouraging them to keep up or revitalize their Tools for Schools programs
- He also has regularly attended and participated in our TfS training workshops
- John’s work is a great example to other LHDs on how LHDs can work with their local school districts to improve school building environments!