The newly-appointed head of Connecticut’s public school system is Jamaica-born Charlene Russell-Tucker.
State Governor Ned Lamont accepted the recommendation of the Connecticut State Board of Education to appoint Russell-Tucker to serve as acting commissioner of the Connecticut State Department of Education.
In her new post, she will oversee a public school system that caters to over half a million students.
Russell-Tucker has more than 20 years of experience as a professional educator. She has been described as a visionary education leader by Governor Lamont.
“An educator herself, Charlene has a lot of experience working with school districts across Connecticut, which is why I believe her appointment to this position will seamlessly aid the state’s education goals during this transition period. I appreciate her willingness to take on this leadership role,” he said in a statement.
In accepting her appointment, Russell-Tucker said that she will use the opportunity to continue her work.
“I am humbled and grateful to Governor Lamont and the State Board of Education for placing their confidence in me to serve Connecticut’s students, families, and educators in this role,” she said.
“I will use this opportunity to continue to advance the work of the agency and our educational partners to ensure a seamless transition once a permanent commissioner is named.”
Charlene Russell-Tucker was born in Beckford Kraal, Clarendon, and attended Liberty Primary School in Clarendon and later Clarendon College, according to the Jamaica Gleaner.
After migrating to the United States shortly after leaving Clarendon College, she attended St Joseph College in Connecticut and later Albertus Magnus, also in Connecticut, where she obtained both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
Until her appointment on March 3, she served as the department’s deputy commissioner. In 2015, Russell-Tucker was named to the inaugural class of 100 Women of Color in Connecticut. In 2018, she was welcomed to the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading’s Council of Champions.