Gary S. Mala
Gary S. Mala
Executive Director
860-455-1565
Longtime educator Gary S. Mala joined EASTCONN as its new Executive Director in September 2017. Prior to becoming the agency’s third Executive Director, Gary was Superintendent of Avon Public  Schools, a position he’d held since 2011. He previously served as Superintendent of Schools for Region 17, and before that was the Superintendent of Schools for Southwick-Tolland Regional School District in Massachusetts.During his 35-year career in education, Gary has seen the profession through many different lenses, having also served in other demanding, high-profile roles, such as high school principal, elementary principal and pupil services director. He has taught regular and special education at the elementary school level and special education at the high school level. He completed doctoral-level work at both the University of Hartford and Nova Southeastern University and earned his Superintendent Certification and Sixth Year Diploma in Educational Leadership from Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU). He holds a combined master’s degree from SCSU in Special Education and Educational Leadership and has bachelor’s degrees in both Elementary and Special Education from Central Connecticut State University (CCSU). Gary was recently awarded the Presidential Award from the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS) and he is currently an adjunct professor in the Educational Leadership Department at Quinnipiac University, specializing in graduate-level school finance. Gary has a strong record of advocating at the state and national levels on behalf of schools and communities. Appointed by U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty (5th District) to serve on the statewide STEM Advisory Council, Gary chairs the Council’s Education Subcommittee.
Michael Akana
Michael Akana
Facilities Director
860-455-1500
Michael Akana has directed EASTCONN’s Facilities Department and its hard-working staff for 28 years, overseeing the day-to-day operations and maintenance of the agency’s 14 program, school and administrative sites, all located across EASTCONN’s 33-town, 36-school district region in northeastern Connecticut. As a licensed inspector for asbestos and radon, Michael not only keeps all of EASTCONN’s schools and buildings in compliance with state environmental and health laws, but also helps EASTCONN-region school districts and towns meet state and federal regulations. He is a Connecticut-licensed Asbestos Consultant Inspector/Management Planner with 28 years of experience, and a Certified Radon Measurement Technician through the National Radon Safety Board, and a Certified Radon Measurement Technician for Connecticut Schools. Michael provides Facilities Auditing Services for school districts that lack the on-staff expertise to determine their long-range facility needs. He also regularly offers Hazardous Materials support and training classes for the region’s school maintenance and custodial staff, who are required by law to complete asbestos awareness classes within 60 days of being hired. Prior to joining EASTCONN, Michael worked in the heating and piping industry, was the plant manager for an eastern Connecticut manufacturing company, and prior to that was a plant superintendent/manufacturing superintendent for InterRoyal, a manufacturer in Plainfield.
Kimberly Bush
Kimberly Bush
Transportation Director
860-228-6751
With more than a decade of school transportation management experience in partnership with Connecticut public schools, Kimberly knows how to provide safe, high-quality, cost-effective bus service for students and communities in the Nutmeg State. She brings a deep understanding of Connecticut’s rigorous laws and driver-credentialing requirements to her job as EASTCONN’s Director of Transportation, where she has quickly applied her background in creating transportation-route efficiencies for the school districts that EASTCONN serves. Before joining EASTCONN in 2017, Kimberly excelled as Operations and Charter Manager for Specialty Transportation in Hartford/Avon, where she oversaw the dispatch, payroll and HR needs of 100+ drivers/buses in Hartford, in addition to 40+ in Avon. As Charter Manager for Specialty, she also supervised daily charter buses for the City of Hartford and 2 surrounding towns and oversaw all aspects of transportation for corporate and social events, as well as school activities. Prior to her work at Specialty, Kimberly was Operations Manager with Dattco in Avon, where she managed daily transportation operations and acted as communications liaison with both school administrators and parents. Kimberly also has experience in the early childhood field; she was the Assistant Director of a private preschool-kindergarten program in Avon and Windsor, Conn., where she worked as the head teacher in a full-day kindergarten classroom.
Larisa Carr
Larisa Carr
Eastern Connecticut Health Insurance Program (ECHIP) Coordinator
860-455-1546
In 2012, Larisa became the Administrator for the Eastern Connecticut Health Insurance Program (ECHIP), Connecticut’s first health insurance collaborative. Housed at EASTCONN, the ECHIP collaborative allows her to incorporate all of her previous experience in the health insurance market and continue the professional work she has always enjoyed. A life and health insurance broker licensed in the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York, Larisa had previously worked in the private sector as a sales executive and a broker. Her early career saw her specialize in property and casualty at Allstate Insurance, where she worked as an assistant for their legal team. Larisa then moved into health insurance at ConnectiCare Inc., where she was a sales assistant for 3 years before being promoted to Junior Sales Executive there. She became a senior sales executive and worked at ConnectiCare for another 8 years. Larisa left ConnectiCare to open her own independent brokerage agency, specializing in small group health insurance. After successfully growing her agency, she merged with a larger firm and sold the business in 2010, after being recruited by United Health Care. She joined UHC as a regional sales executive, representing them in new business sales and account management retention. She managed a national book of business, traveling to clients in Texas, Minnesota and California, as well as a regional book of business with clients in New York and Connecticut. Larisa attended Quinnipiac University and Wesleyan University and is a veteran of the United States Army. Learn more about ECHIP at www.echip-ct.org.
Andy DePalma
Andy DePalma
Technology Solutions Director/CTO
860-455-1620
Andy is a career-long educator, researcher, and technologist with 24 years of experience. He started at the University of Connecticut as a consultant in the Office Instructional and Research Services, and after the completion of his doctorate took a faculty position at the UCONN College of Continuing Studies with a dual appointment at the Neag School of Education and an administrative appointment as Director of Technology. Soon afterward he took leadership of Information Science and Knowledge Management, supervising faculty and curriculum development. During this time, he served as secretary of the University Senate Courses and Curricula Committee and served in various regional and national leadership positions in UPCEA. His research agenda at this time included distance education and learning environment development with contexts in fine arts, nutritional science, and history. Immediately prior to his departure from UCONN, he received the President’s Research Award. Andy came to EASTCONN is 2014, with the initial task of assembling and organizing the then newly-formed Technology Solutions Division. He brought a broad knowledge of technology, technology education, and education practice and theory, and built a flexible and responsive unit. As division director, he oversees research and data services, information technology, application development, and network operations. He is a member of both EASTCONN’s Leadership Team and Research and Development group. His areas of direct service are consulting on school climate, automated analysis and reporting, data mining, classroom robotics, and application development for research. Andy holds a Ph.D. in Education and B.S. in Electrical Engineering.
Diane Dugas
Diane Dugas
Director of Leading and Learning
860-455-1591
Diane Dugas directs EASTCONN’s Leading and Learning division, as well as the agency’s two magnet high schools and its alternative high school. Formerly the director of EASTCONN’s Center for Educational Leadership, which she now also oversees, Diane was previously a superintendent of schools, an assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, a turn-around principal and a special education teacher. A lifelong educator, Diane has conducted doctoral research on the ways in which central office supports leadership capacity for transformational change. She holds a Sixth Year certificate and is a graduate of the UConn Executive Leadership Program. Diane specializes in leadership and talent development; social-emotional learning; competency-based, student-centered learning; and strategic planning. She also facilitates EASTCONN’s Regional Staff Development Council. To learn more about EASTCONN’s Leading and Learning virtual professional development opportunities, as well as embedded district professional learning or team facilitation across a range of K-12 academic fields and pedagogies, contact Diane at her email listed above. 
Diane Gozemba
Diane Gozemba
Early Childhood Initiatives Director
860-455-1518
Diane Gozemba, M.S. Ed., M.B.A., has been the Director of Early Childhood Initiatives at EASTCONN since 2015. She first joined EASTCONN in January 2013 as the Assistant Director of Early Childhood Initiatives and Director of EASTCONN’s Early Head Start and Head Start programs. Before coming to EASTCONN, Diane chaired the Department of Education at Mitchell College, directed a lab school, administered a School Readiness program and developed a Family Center at Brooklyn Friends Schools. Over the years, she has been an administrator in urban and rural areas, striving for the highest quality. As an administrator, she advocates for an intergenerational approach to engaging families and working in partnership with them to minimize Connecticut’s achievement gap. Diane’s professional content expertise includes: Building Cultural Competencies, Social Studies in the Early Childhood Years, Family Goal-Setting, Early Childhood Program Administration and the coaching process as a means to improve instruction. She is regularly invited to present on early childhood learning at national and statewide conferences. Diane currently manages the instructional and coaching component of the Preschool Development Grant in collaboration with the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood. She serves on the statewide team working on the pilot of the Quality Recognition System (QRIS). As the Director of EASTCONN’s Early Childhood Initiatives division, she is a leader in providing professional learning; coaching in districts; support for the early childhood workforce; and community programs throughout the state. She holds a master’s degree in education from Bank Street College of Education, and an M.B.A. from the University of New Haven.
Melanie Marcaccio
Melanie Marcaccio
Human Resources Director
860-455-1550
Melanie Marcaccio, Director of EASTCONN’s Human Resources Department, has more than 38 years of experience in the Human Resources/Labor Relations field, having held executive-level governmental positions in Rhode Island, where her service encompassed all aspects of Human Resources management for up to 14,000 employees. Her broad experience includes managing the quality and delivery of human resources functions and services provided to customers on all matters involved in performance management, strategic planning, talent acquisition, equal opportunity and diversity, merit selection, classification/compensation, payroll administration, benefits coordination, labor relations/collective bargaining, disability management (including workers’ compensation) and training, using outstanding interpersonal, communication, negotiation, mediation and people management skills. Prior to joining EASTCONN’s team in 2017, Melanie served most recently as the Acting Executive Director of Human Resources/Personnel Administrator and as Deputy Personnel Administrator with the State of Rhode Island. Melanie has demonstrated expertise in establishing and managing transitions to and implementation of defined strategic directions and objectives, including the development of policies, procedures and systems development and implementation. Melanie earned her bachelor of science degree from the University of Rhode Island and attended Providence College’s Masters in Business Administration – Personnel Administration and Labor Relations program. She is a graduate of the Dale Carnegie Effective Speaking and Human Relations training program, Leadership RI, and Incident Command System Training for Emergency Response.
Amy Margelony
Amy Margelony
Director of Pupil Services
860-377-7650
Amy Margelony has been recently appointed as the Interim Director of Pupil Services for EASTCONN.  Prior to this appointment, she was the Assistant Director of Pupil Services for EASTCONN.   Amy first joined EASTCONN in April of 2013 as a Program Director for one of our Clinical Day Treatment Programs.  Prior to coming to EASTCONN, Amy worked as a classroom teacher for several years and as an Assistant Principal of East Hartford Middle School.  She also began her own consulting company and worked as a special education advocate assisting many families throughout Connecticut.  Amy obtained her Bachelor’s Degree at CCSU in the area of Social Work.  She continued her education at the University of Hartford where she earned her Master’s Degree and certification in Elementary Education.  She then earned her 6th-year degree in School Administration at UCONN.
Edward Martin
Edward Martin
Business Office Manager
860-455-1502
Edward Martin, M.B.A., has been the Business Office Manager at EASTCONN since August 2020. He oversees the agency’s day-to-day finance operations, including accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, grant management and accounting. With more than 10 years of experience in Accounting and Finance, Edward previously held several different positions with both public and privately held companies, most recently as a Senior Internal Auditor at United Natural Foods, Inc. Edward has also worked in several functional areas of Accounting and Finance, including developing budgets and forecasts, fixed-asset management, accounting for defined-contribution and defined-benefit retirement plans, payroll and fringe-benefit analysis, banking, accounts payable and accounts receivable. Edward has a demonstrated proficiency in developing teams, identifying areas for process improvements using Six Sigma tools, and managing a customer service-driven team. Edward earned his Bachelor of Science in Accounting at Rhode Island College and his Master of Business Administration degree, along with a Graduate Certificate in Human Resources Management, from the University of Rhode Island. Contact Edward at
Heather Plourde
Heather Plourde
Food & Hospitality Services Director
860-455-1552
Heather has more than 25 years of managerial experience in the food and hospitality industry. After 5 years of owning and operating her own successful café and catering business, she joined EASTCONN in 2012, and started up EASTCONN Food Services. Under her guidance, EASTCONN became an approved sponsor of the National School Lunch Program by the State of Connecticut in 2012. Since the inception of EASTCONN Food Services, Heather has expanded the program into 15 schools in 6 different districts to ensure that more than 3,000 students have access to nutritious meals every day. In addition to offering school meals, Heather also opened up the Food for Thought Café that operates out of the Quinebaug Valley Community College campus in Danielson, which enables EASTCONN Food Services to provide a wide array of catering services both at the college, as well as off-site. The QVCC Food for Thought Café also offers vocational training for EASTCONN students. Heather is a member of the School Nutrition Association and attends workshops and seminars on a regular basis to ensure that she and her department stay current with state regulations and guidelines. Along with being a self-taught chef, she has studied Hospitality Management and is currently pursuing a degree in Business Management at Albertus Magnus College. Under Heather’s direction, EASTCONN’s Food Services division has become a regional leader in food service delivery, through catering, event planning, café management, and the provision of the National School Lunch Program.
Teddie Sleight
Teddie Sleight
Marketing & Communications Director
860-455-1553
Teddie Sleight is an experienced communications and marketing professional, whose background in journalism, marketing and digital communications has for years helped organizations and communities meet their communications objectives, and connect effectively with their target audiences. After graduating with an English degree from Vassar College, Teddie worked as a newspaper reporter in New York, winning statewide awards for two investigative series, one of which explored deep challenges facing a troubled city school district. She subsequently worked as the public relations specialist for an elite college, and later as a news editor and freelance writer in Miami. After moving to Connecticut, she honed a deep appreciation for and understanding of rural-town life, serving in a variety of volunteer capacities, including 6 years as chair of a town library board, and as the writer/editor of a town-wide newsletter that helped connect residents with local schools, supporting the success of a nascent, pro-school-budget coalition. After 8 years as a publicist and writer/editor at the University of Connecticut’s Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts, Teddie brought her experience in writing, editing and marketing to EASTCONN, where she has worked since 2006. Since then, she has written, edited and overseen most of the agency’s central marketing initiatives, as well as its year-over-year, award-winning publications. Teddie also oversees the agency’s social media initiatives, as well as its Web Development Group, which not only designed and manages www.eastconn.org, but also counts among its staff assets an expert in Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) website design. Joining Teddie in EASTCONN’s Marketing and Communications Department is a dynamic, highly qualified marketing, graphic design, website and communications team, whose professionalism and expertise significantly enhance the work and reach of EASTCONN.
Rich Tariff
Rich Tariff
Adult & Community Programs Director
860-455-1562
Richard Tariff started in Adult Education almost 40 years ago. He has been a pioneer in the creation of the Adult High School completion programs, virtual adult education classes, collaborations, job training programs and blending resources with the local workforce boards for the benefit of adult students. Richard was an associate professor of education at Springfield College and served for nine years as a school board member and chairman of the Longmeadow, Mass., Board of Education. He was named 1996 Connecticut Assistant Principal of the Year and was honored as the Connecticut Association for Adult and Continuing Education ((CAACE) Leader of the Year in 2011. He was the first person to serve as president of CAACE for five consecutive years, from 2011-2016, and spent considerable time marketing Adult Education across the State of Connecticut. Richard has made countless presentations locally and nationally, with a focus on growing adult education programs, collaborating with other agencies, and blending and maximizing resources. He has had extensive experience in business and has incorporated those skills into his management style. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Education from Westfield State, a master’s degree in Reading from American International College and an advanced degree in School Administration from UCONN.
Joni L. Weglein
Joni L. Weglein
Chief Financial Officer
860-455-1536
Joni L. Weglein was named EASTCONN’s Chief Financial Officer in January 2020, after serving for several months as the agency’s acting CFO. Her prior role at EASTCONN was as its Business Office manager. Before moving to EASTCONN, Weglein worked for more than 10 years as a senior internal auditor at United Natural Foods, Inc., in Rhode Island. Her experience included working as an internal auditor for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation in Ledyard, where she also served as director of finance at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center. Weglein has a strong background in establishing and managing accounting policies and procedures; auditing; and creating and monitoring effective internal control environments. A graduate of Johnson and Wales in Providence, R.I., Weglein holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and an associate’s degree in finance.

EASTCONN Title IX Role Assignments

Title IX Coordinators

  • Hampton Central Administration Offices: Melanie Marcaccio
  • Arts at the Capitol Theater (ACT): Sarah Mallory
  • Learners Empowered to Achieve their Potential (LEAP): David Howes
  • Quinebaug Middle College (QMC): David Howes
  • Clinical Day Treatment (CDT) Programs:
  •      Northeast Regional Program (NRP): Kurt Mias
  •      Educational & Vocational Center (EVC): Gregory Biggs
  •      Autism Program (EAP): Lindajeanne LaMagna Schwartz
  •      Psychological & Behavioral Services: Ravit Stein
  •      Regional Transition Services: Christine DiGiacomo
  •      Woodstock Academy Cooperative: Kurt Mias

Title IX Investigators

  • Hampton Central Administration Offices: Melanie Marcaccio
  • Arts at the Capitol Theater (ACT): Sarah Mallory
  • Learners Empowered to Achieve their Potential (LEAP): David Howes
  • Quinebaug Middle College (QMC): David Howes
  • Clinical Day Treatment (CDT) Programs: 
  •    Northeast Regional Program (NRP): Kurt Mias
  •    Educational & Vocational Center (EVC): Gregory Biggs
  •    Autism Program (EAP): Lindajeanne LaMagna Schwartz
  •    Psychological & Behavioral Services: Ravit Stein
  •    Regional Transition Services: Christine DiGiacomo
  •    Woodstock Academy Cooperative: Kurt Mias

Title IX Decision-Makers

  • Arts at the Capitol Theater (ACT): Diane Dugas
  • Learners Empowered to Achieve their Potential (LEAP): Diane Dugas
  • Quinebaug Middle College (QMC): Diane Dugas
  • Clinical Day Treatment (CDT) Programs: Amy Margelony
  • Hampton Central Administration Offices: Amy Margelony

Title IX Appeal Decision-Maker

All Programs: Gary Mala