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  November 5, 2001

Neag School Lands $1.9 Million Gates Grant

Gov. John G. Rowland announced Thursday that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded nearly $2 million to the University's Neag School of Education, on behalf of a statewide education consortium. The grant will support professional development for more than 1,600 superintendents and principals in Connecticut's public and private schools.

The Connecticut Consortium for Technology Integration in School Leadership was established to strengthen student learning across Connecticut, by providing school administrators with access to high quality leadership development. The group developed a three-year program for improving administrators' proficiency in using technology to facilitate change, make informed data-driven decisions, and enhance the quality of teaching and learning in their schools.

"The Neag School of Education again has taken a leadership role in bringing a substantial grant to the state which will benefit our school leaders as well as our teachers and students," said Rowland. "Connecticut, a state known for its excellent schools, must remain in the forefront nationally, and to do this, we need strong effective leadership to meet the challenges of the 21st century. This program, aided by the Gates Foundation grant, will enable us to support our principals and superintendents by supplying them with the tools and resources they need to address what has become a fast-paced, ever-changing environment."

Tom Vander Ark, executive director of education at the Gates Foundation, said "The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is committed to providing the tools needed to strengthen leadership in our schools and we are thrilled that Connecticut shares this mission."

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant is part of the foundation's State Challenge Grants for Leadership Development program, available to all states, which aims to provide every principal and superintendent in public and private schools with access to quality leadership development focused on system change and technology integration by 2003.

"Service to the larger community is at the core of a public university's mission," said President Philip E. Austin. "This exciting program will bring the Neag School of Education's resources to bear in strengthening K-12 education across Connecticut. The support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation represents a strong endorsement of our efforts."

Richard Schwab, dean of the Neag School, is a nationally recognized leader in the use of technology for school improvement. He has long advocated the need for technology training and professional development for teachers and school leaders.

"Wiring our schools for advanced technology is not enough. We thank the Gates Foundation for this valuable opportunity to provide the vital resources our principals and superintendents need to master the use of technology themselves, and advance its use as an informational and instructional tool," said Schwab.

Edward Iwanicki, head of the Neag School's educational leadership department, spearheaded the effort to secure the Gates Foundation grant. Other members of the consortium include: the Connecticut Department of Education Division of School Improvement, the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents, the Connecticut Association of Schools, the Alliance of Regional Education Centers, the Connecticut Commission on Technology, and the Connecticut Department of Information Technology.

The consortium members have matched the Gates Foundation grant with another $2.8 million, to bring the total committed to the project to just over $4.8 million.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is dedicated to improving people's lives by sharing advances in health and learning with the global community, and to sharing the promise of new technologies with all citizens. Led by Bill Gates' father, William H. Gates Sr., and Patty Stonesifer, the Seattle-based foundation has an asset base of $21 billion.

More information about the Connecticut Consortium for Technology Integration in School Leadership is available at

Janice Palmer