The RISE Network Welcomes Two New Board Directors

Media & Press Releases

Dianna Wentzell, Ed.D., and Nathan Quesnel joined the RISE Network’s Board of Directors in April 2022

New Haven, CT (May 5, 2022) – The Connecticut RISE Network today announced the expansion of its Board of Directors, welcoming two new Directors. Dianna Wentzell, Ed.D., the Director of Clinical Practice at University of Saint Joseph and former Connecticut Commissioner of Education, and Nathan Quesnel, Superintendent of East Hartford Public Schools and a founding RISE Network superintendent, joined the RISE Board. 

“I am excited about Dianna and Nate joining the RISE Board because they are two thought partners that we worked with for years who share our passion and because they bring unique perspectives that will make us better,” said RISE’s Co-Founder and Board Chair Barbara Dalio.

“We are thrilled and honored to welcome our Dianna and Nate to the RISE Board,” said RISE’s Co-Founder and Executive Director Emily Pallin. “As longtime education champions, Dianna and Nate are leading advocates for Connecticut’s students, caregivers, and educators. Their unique experiences and perspectives will undoubtedly support our growth as we work to deepen and scale our impact on behalf of the students and families we serve.”

Wentzell currently serves as the Director of Clinical Practice, Licensure Officer, and Associate Professor at the University of St. Joseph in West Hartford. Prior to that, she served as Connecticut’s Commissioner of Education. As Commissioner of Education between 2015 and 2019, Wentzell led the adoption of the Common Core State Standards, new educator evaluation systems, and new standardized assessments and accountability frameworks. Having worked in education for over three decades, Wentzell is a former classroom teacher and school and district administrator. She holds an Ed.D in Educational leadership from the University of Hartford.

“All students deserve an excellent, engaging, and equitable education. I’ve dedicated my career to helping students realize and achieve their full potential, and I’m excited to join the RISE Network’s Board to advance these same goals in a new way. I deeply align with RISE’s data-driven and community-centered approach to improvement at scale,” said Wentzell.

Quesnel began his career with East Hartford Public Schools in 2002. Prior to his current role as Superintendent, he served in a variety of capacities, including as a high school English teacher, Coach, and as Assistant Principal at the high school and middle school levels. He was appointed by Governor Malloy in 2013 to lead Connecticut’s Common Core Task Force. In 2020, Quesnel was appointed by Governor Lamont to help schools across the state access technology through the Learn from Home Task Force. He is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, BS, MA, Southern Connecticut State University, 6th Year, and Central Connecticut State University, and he is currently pursuing his Doctorate at the University of Connecticut.  

“East Hartford Public Schools joined the RISE Network as a founding partner in 2016.  We’ve seen Grade 9 on-track rates, graduation rates, and postsecondary outcomes increase through this partnership in our district and across our statewide RISE Network community. I believe in RISE’s mission and approach because I’ve experienced the results firsthand, and I’m excited for this opportunity to help shape RISE’s future impact and growth,” he said.

Wentzell and Quesnel join Chair Barbara Dalio, Director Natalie Gordon, Treasurer Rodgers Harper, Secretary Erin Benham, and Director Indra K. Nooyi on the RISE Board.