News from C.E.S.

Registration open for 12th annual C.E.S. 5K Fall Classic

The 12th annual race will be Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, at Bridgeport's Seaside Park. Visit for details and updates about the race.
All proceeds from the C.E.S. 5k Fall Classic benefit the schools and programs of C.E.S., including the Regional Center for the Arts, School Readiness preschool, Six to Six Magnet School, and Special Education programs.

Special Education programs toured by visitor from India

Our Special Education division had a special visitor on Wednesday who came to see how our programs serve students. The Rev. Didi Maa Sadhvi Ritambhara is a highly respected spiritual leader in India and a well-known humanitarian who created Vatsalyagram, a program that provides care for disadvantaged people.
Her visit to our Oakview Drive facility was arranged by Michele Semosky, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst from Oxford who has visited C.E.S. to get ideas for vocational and transition activities for Vashishtyam, a daycare and residential facility for special needs children that is operated by Vatsalyagram. Michelle volunteers there and accompanied the group on Wednesday’s tour.
After visiting classrooms, talking with staff and students, and seeing the TLC program’s Muffins and More kitchen, Didi Maa told TLC Program Administrator Terri Garrity that she was inspired by the C.E.S. model of caring for special needs children.
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C.E.S. receives check for safe operations

CIRMA check presentation
Cooperative Educational Services received a check Tuesday from the Connecticut Interlocal Risk Management Agency (CIRMA), the state’s municipal market leader that provides risk management services to self-insured municipalities and local public agencies like C.E.S.
The check for $23,148 is the prorated share C.E.S. receives of CIRMA’s $5 million Members’ Equity Distribution for 2019. C.E.S. has received $83,006 from CIRMA since it began the program in 2011, giving out nearly $30 million to its 371 members in that time.
“The partnership and risk management efforts of our members are a sustaining force behind CIRMA’s outstanding financial strength, growth in service programs, and our ability to deliver a Members’ Equity Distribution program,” said David Demchak, president and CEO of CIRMA.
CIRMA, headquartered in New Haven, operates two risk-sharing pools – the Workers’ Compensation Pool and the Liability-Automobile-Property Pool. It also provides risk management services to self-insured municipalities and local public agencies.
Barbara Henry (at left in photo above), a member of CIRMA’s Board of Directors and first selectman of Roxbury, visited the C.E.S. central office to present the check to C.E.S. Associate Executive Director Christopher La Belle and Director of Finance and Operations Margaret Sullivan.
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C.E.S. names new Emotional Disabilities unit leader

Kristen Wilson
Kristen Wilson, who has been a valuable member of the Special Education program at Cooperative Educational Services since 2002, has been appointed Unit Director of the Emotional Disabilities division. Wilson is replacing Dr. Dan French, who had been in the position since 2004.
“I’m excited to continue the great work of the Therapeutic Day Program to provide a high-quality program to students, families and districts,” Wilson said. “I am honored to lead such a dedicated group of professionals with real hearts of gold and to be able to continue my professional career at C.E.S.”
Wilson started at C.E.S. in 2002 as a teacher in the TDP’s middle school and has been the administrator of the elementary component since 2011. Her education includes a BS in Elementary and Special Education from the University of Delaware, a masters in Special Education from Fairfield University, and a Sixth-Year Degree in Educational Leadership from Southern Connecticut State University.
The Bridgeport resident lives with her husband, Paul, and 5-year-old twin daughters.
“Kristen is a wonderful fit for this position based on her experience with the program and her demonstrated leadership skills and abilities,” said C.E.S. Executive Director Dr. Charles Dumais. “We are looking forward to the growth and development of the program under her guidance.”
The Special Education division of C.E.S. has five programs offering specialized services to students age 3 to 21 with significant developmental or emotional disabilities. For more information, visit
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New Assistant Principal joins Six to Six leadership

Six to Six Assistant Principal Ginger Vail
Ginger Vail has been named an Assistant Principal at Six to Six Magnet School in Bridgeport. She comes to the school, which is operated by Trumbull-based Cooperative Educational Services, from her position as interim principal at Calf Pen Meadow Elementary School in Milford.
Vail, who also spent time recently as a Special Education Consultant for Trumbull Public Schools, will be starting her new position by the start of the upcoming school year.
“The Six to Six team is thrilled to welcome Ginger Vail to our school,” said Six to Six Principal Anna Nelmes-Stoughton. “She comes with vast experience and rich knowledge of the field. We look forward to working with and learning from her.”
Vail started her education career teaching middle school in Georgia in 1992, before moving to California in 2001 to teach, coordinate a special education program, and become a school administrator. In 2003, she returned to Georgia as an elementary school principal in Atlanta and helped mentor new principals in the city’s school system. In 2010, she became principal at McKinley Elementary School in Fairfield, Conn., before becoming a teacher evaluation consultant within the district. She was a Special Education consultant for Trumbull in 2017-18 before taking the interim principal position in Milford this past school year.
“I feel privileged to be joining the Six to Six team and look forward to meeting and collaborating with staff, students and families,” Vail said. “Thank you to everyone that I have met thus far and the warm welcome you have given me. I can’t wait for the school year to begin as a member of such an amazing educational community.” 
Vail has degrees and certifications from the University of Georgia and Brenau University, in addition to a doctorate in Organization and Leadership from the University of San Francisco.
Six to Six is at 601 Pearl Harbor St. in Bridgeport, serving children from a number of area communities in preschool through Grade 8.
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C.E.S. names new Director of Special Education

Director of Special Education Michael McGrath
Dr. Michael McGrath has been appointed Director of Special Education at Cooperative Educational Services. The Fairfield resident’s career includes many years of experience as a teacher, counselor, principal, and district administrator and he comes to C.E.S. from Trumbull Public Schools, where he has been Assistant Superintendent since 2013.
“During my career, I have worked closely with many teachers, services providers, and administrators from C.E.S.,” McGrath said. “All of whom were committed to providing high-quality supports and services to students and the member districts. I look forward to the opportunity to lead such a dynamic group of professionals.”
He will begin at C.E.S. on Aug. 1 and replace Dr. Michael Regan, who is retiring to become a consulting director for the Eastern Fairfield County Diagnostic Center being created by C.E.S.
“We are excited to have Dr. McGrath as a member of the C.E.S. leadership team,” said C.E.S. Executive Director Dr. Charles Dumais. “In addition to having significant experience in special education and district administration throughout our region, Mike brings great ideas and energy for advancing the mission of our organization and better serving the students and schools of Fairfield County.”
McGrath has a Bachelor of Science degree from Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., a Master of Science from the College of New Rochelle (N.Y.), a 6th Year Certificate from Southern Connecticut State University, and a Ph.D. from Madison University.
His education career began in 1991 as a teacher at Holy Family School in the Bronx, N.Y., then he became a Guidance Counselor in the Bronx two years later. After two years as a Guidance Counselor at Dunbar Elementary in Bridgeport, Conn., he went to Nathan Hale Middle School in Norwalk, Conn., first as Head Counselor, then Assistant Principal and Principal. That was followed by a move in 2003 to Assistant Director for Pupil Services and Special Education for Norwalk Public Schools. In 2011, he became Director of Pupil Services in Trumbull and became Assistant Superintendent in 2013.
The Special Education division of C.E.S. has five programs offering specialized services to students age 3 to 21 with significant developmental or emotional disabilities.
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Barbara Stevens is Paraeducator of the Year

Barbara Stevens
Barbara Stevens of Six to Six Magnet School in Bridgeport has been named the 2020 Paraeducator of the Year for Cooperative Educational Services.
Stevens is an Educational Instructor and Math/Literacy Interventionist who started her career at C.E.S. in 1994. The Stratford resident is the eighth Paraeducator of the Year for C.E.S. and the second from Six to Six, which is one of four school programs operated by Trumbull-based C.E.S.
Mrs. Stevens says she was inspired to pursue a career as a paraeducator by her first teaching assignment, leading a class as a long-term substitute in a Hartford grammar school. She said she became confident and realized she could creatively encourage learning, connect with students and be a positive force in their lives.

Longtime leader in Special Education department retiring

Daniel French, Unit Director for the Emotional Disabilities Department
Dr. Daniel French, who has helped oversee the growth and success of the Therapeutic Day Program program at C.E.S. throughout the past 29 years, has announced his resignation. ... Dr. French, who is also a major Bruce Springsteen fan, has been a part of the TDP team as a Team Leader, Program Administrator/Principal, and Director of the Emotional Disabilities Unit, which he has led since 2004.
In a message to his staff, Dr. French wrote he is confident "TDP will continue to move in its upward trajectory because there are so many talented, committed, and compassionate staff members here who have studied and experienced our blueprint for success, and have the capability to maintain it and pass it forward as new staff members arrive."
We wish him the best and can't thank him enough for all he has done to make C.E.S. and TDP high-quality programs.

Six to Six students help zoo's endangered tigers

A team from Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo was at Six to Six Magnet School in Bridgeport on Tuesday, May 28, to show off some cool animals and accept a check from the Student Council. The Student Council wanted to help the Bridgeport zoo create a habitat for its two endangered tiger cubs and held several fundraisers, including Candy Canes for Cubs, Carnation Kindness Day and a Dance for Cubs. The original goal was to raise $2,000 but they easily surpassed that number and during a special assembly Tuesday, they gave the zoo representatives a check for $2,500! With the amazing donation, Six to Six will have its name engraved on a brick at the new tiger habitat.
Student Council and zoo workers with check
Macaw from zoo
Zoo worker holds alligator
Zoo workers holds legless lizard
Zoo worker holds legless lizard
Students look at gopher tortoise
Student being interviewed on camera
Six to Six staff interviewed on camera

Transition Resource Expo helps families plan

Parents and families of students with developmental disabilities can learn more about transition resources at the 18th annual Transition Resource Expo on Wednesday, March 20, from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the C.E.S. building at 25 Oakview Drive in Trumbull. Professionals who want to learn more about resources are also invited to attend.
More than 30 community and state agencies will be there to provide information about the services they offer, including transition, recreation, employment, guardianship, estate planning and more.
Michael Beloff, a Chartered Special Needs Consultant, will hold a workshop starting at 7 p.m. to help special needs families gain a better understanding of the different government benefits available.
The snow date is March 27. For more information, email

RISE bowling fundraiser in memory of former student

Photo of Mark Senello
The RISE program in the C.E.S. Special Education division is holding a bowling fundraiser in memory of a student who passed away in December. Mark Sennello graduated from Bunnell High School in Stratford in 2017, entered the RISE program for his post-secondary program, and was scheduled to graduate in June.
The Lanes of Love fundraiser is May 18 at Nutmeg Bowl (802 Villa Ave., Fairfield) from 10 a.m. until noon. The $15 advance ticket (by May 6) covers two games and shoe rental. There will also be a 50/50 raffle. All money raised goes to the Bunnell High School Mark Sennello Scholarship Fund.
For more information, email, call 203-365-8998, or click here to visit the Facebook event page. You can click here to download the flyer with registration form.
Our RISE program at Sacred Heart University helps students age 18-21 gain independence and confidence as they prepare to become productive participants in their communities. For more information, visit the RISE website.

Annual job fair held by C.E.S. includes elementary positions

Anyone interested in working as a teacher is invited to the Connecticut Educator Recruitment Fair on Saturday, April 27, from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. at Fairfield Warde High School.Connecticut Educator Recruitment Fair 2019 logo
The annual job fair presented by Cooperative Educational Services will feature representatives from public school districts and schools from around the region, in addition to C.E.S., meeting prospective teaching candidates to discuss openings.
The free fair is open to secondary, special education and special subject certification educators and for the first time, elementary educators are eligible. The recruitment fair opens at 8 a.m. in the cafeteria, followed by an orientation in the auditorium. After meeting with the school representatives, some candidates will be invited to interviews in the afternoon. All attendees will receive a recruitment package.
Pre-registration is not required, but highly recommended. Click here for more information and to register. A list of the participating schools and districts will be released soon. Click here to see a list of 2018 participants.
Fairfield Warde High School is at 755 Melville Ave., in Fairfield. The cafeteria will be serving food and beverages beginning at 8 a.m.