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August 14, 2020

Schools

Kristina Wylie-Colmenares begins as assistant principal, Academy of Information Technology & Engineering (AITE), Stamford Public Schools this week. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Stamford Public Schools
Bartlomiej Ruszczyk who attended Fairfield Preparatory High School received a Richard E. Taber Citizenship Award Scholarship from Fairfield County Bank Foundation. Photo Credit: Courtesy of First County Bank Foundation
Daniella Jones of Greenwich who attended Greenwich High School received a Richard E. Taber Citizenship Award Scholarship from Fairfield County Bank Foundation. Photo Credit: Courtesy of First County Bank Foundation
Hannah Bushell who attended Stamford High School received a Richard E. Taber Citizenship Award Scholarship from Fairfield County Bank Foundation. Photo Credit: Courtesy of First County Bank Foundation

Around Fairfield County Schools: Founder Of Diverse NYC School Hired, Top Teen Citizens

A former assistant principal and founder at a small progressive school in Manhattan, Kristina Wylie-Colmenares has been hired as assistant principal, Academy of Information Technology & Engineering (AITE), effective Tuesday, July 21, Stamford Public Schools has announced.

Wylie-Colmenares fills the position vacated by Lawrence Keller, who is returning to the classroom to serve as the Career & Technology Education Teacher for the Early College Studies (ECS) Program at Stamford High School.

Wylie-Colmenares has 15 years of experience in education, most recently as an assistant principal at the Facing History School in New York City. She was a founding member of the Facing History School where she started as an English teacher in 2005 and began serving as an assistant principal in 2011. Over the past nine years, Wylie-Colmenares has led initiatives that have increased the school’s attendance and graduation rates.

The Facing History School is a small, progressive, public high school in New York City that serves a very high-need student population, Wylie-Comenares explained for Daily Voice Plus.

"When I transitioned to administration in 2011, our graduation rate was 56 percent and through substantial work on creating and implementing standards-based, culturally responsive curriculum, our current graduation rate for the class of 2020 is 84 percent."

"Additionally, I led our restorative justice initiatives that decreased our suspensions from 51 suspensions in '17-18 to 2 suspensions this past year and decreased chronic absenteeism by 11 percent."

Wylie-Colmenares has a B.A. in Engish literature from Boston College, a master or art in English Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and an advanced certificate in School Administration from Baruch College, City University of New York.

"I hope my experience in helping teachers create culturally responsive pedagogy, implementing restorative practices schoolwide and developing teacher growth through inquiry work, will further support student success at AITE," she said.

Teen Trio Are Good Citizens

Their contributions might otherwise go unnoticed if not for a local bank that scours Fairfield County to find good citizens among teens.

The First County Bank Foundation gives a $5,000 every year to deserving high school students who can demonstrate good citizenship at school, at home and in the community. 

Perhaps you know these students who received this year's Richard E. Taber Citizenship Award Scholarships, Hannah Bushell of Stamford, who attended Stamford High School and will attend the University of Michigan, majoring in applied mathematics; Daniella Jones of Greenwich who attended Greenwich High School and will attend Pennsylvania State University, majoring in liberal arts; and Bartlomiej Ruszczyk of Fairfield, who attended Fairfield Preparatory High School and will attend College of the Holy Cross, majoring in economics and computer science.

The award is named after Richard E. Taber who retired as chairman and CEO of First County Bank in March 2011. It is in recognition of Taber’s 40-plus-year career at the bank and innumerable contributions to the community.

Taber, a member of the board of directors at First County Bank, said, “I am very proud to have my name associated with three such well-rounded and talented young adults. With the level of success, they have already achieved, I’m certain they will have an outstanding future.”

"Each year, we continue to be amazed at the caliber of local high school seniors applying" for the scholarship, said Fairfield County Bank Chairman and CEO Robert J. Granata of the students

Young people who are "honest, hard-working and helpful" may submit an application to First County Bank Foundation from January to April here.