About the Board
Five Core Beliefs
- We believe all students can learn at or above grade level.
- We believe that the achievement gap must and can be eliminated, by all students reaching their learning potential.
- We believe schools have an enormous impact on students’ lives.
- We believe that all parents must be empowered to play an active role in their students’ education.
- We believe that community collaboration is fundamental to achieving and sustaining excellence.
Philip Rigueur serves as VP, Enterprise Transformation for Hartford HealthCare (HHC), Connecticut’s most extensive integrated healthcare system- with over 30,000 employees. In his role, he is responsible for the development and execution of transformative approaches for the various HHC business segments and generating partnerships that expand HHC’s access in additional geographical markets, including increasing retail footprint.
Rev. AJ Johnson is a faith-influenced voice for urban resurgence and revival and a pace-setting champion for justice and community-wide uplift. As a trailblazer, Johnson leads The Urban Hope Refuge Church, an influential church where passionate worship and community activism meet in Hartford, Connecticut. Johnson works at the Center For Leadership and Justice as a Community Organizer. He spearheads Small Business Night Out, a network of minority-owned businesses and entrepreneurs; Calling all Brothers, a widely hailed male mentor-ship and leadership organization and Brothers Johnson 1929 Hat Company, a clothing brand reflecting strength, loyalty, and distinction.
Kim Oliver was born, raised, and is currently a resident of the North End of Hartford. She is a proud graduate of Hartford Public Schools and received her Bachelor of Art degree in Economics from Yale University and a Master degree in Business Administration from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Kim has a deep commitment to Hartford and actively participates in several non-profit, community-based organizations. Most notably, Kim was a community member of the Hartford Public Schools’ design team for High School, Inc., a 9-12 theme school aligned with Connecticut’s Insurance & Financial Services Cluster and the National Academy Foundation.
Yahaira Escribano is a proud life-long Hartford North-end Latina resident, a 1st generation high school and college graduate, and a proud product of the Hartford Public School system. She was the first person in her family to make it past the tenth grade, eventually earning a B.A. degree in Urban and Community Studies and a Master’s degree in Public Administration, both from the University of Connecticut.
Yvette Bello is a first-generation Mexican American who was born and raised in Hartford. She is a veteran of the Connecticut Army National Guard and holds a Masters Degrees in Business Administration, a Masters Degree in Business Management and a Bachelors Degree in Business Management from Albertus Magnus College. Yvette currently works as a Senior Community Impact Officer for the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. She is also a Realtor with Keller Williams and a member of the Greater Hartford Association of Realtors.
Shontá Browdy is a Hartford native and proud mother of two. Her oldest, a graduate of the Hartford Public Schools, and her youngest is currently being educated in the Hartford Public School system. She attended Hartford Public Schools and is a proud graduate of Thomas Snell Weaver High School.
Francoise Deristel-Leger was born and raised in Hartford, CT. Her parents were born and raised in Haiti before coming to the United States. Since her parents believed that education was the key to survival and success, Francoise attended Kingswood-Oxford School. This gave her the foundation for work in education and philanthropy. She graduated from UConn with a BA in Sociology. Then she earned her Masters in Education at the University of Hartford. She also earned her AMI Primary Montessori certificate at the Montessori Training Center Northeast.
Dr. James E. Shmerling is the President and Chief Executive Officer at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, a nationally recognized leader for driving innovation in pediatrics and cutting-edge pediatric research. Connecticut Children’s serves as the only hospital in Connecticut dedicated exclusively to the care of children. For over four decades, Dr. Shmerling has served in management roles in children’s hospitals, devoting his career to advocating for children and healthy communities.
Tyrone Walker has been a Hartford resident for 20 years, and has volunteered for over 15 years with community-based organizations focused on youth and community development/empowerment. Beyond serving on the Hartford BOE, he is the board chair for the Center for Leadership & Justice, which focuses on community empowerment/development in the Upper Albany and North Main Street areas.