ConnCAN names Hartford business leader as its Chairman of Board of Directors

Sept. 15, 2016

Byron McCauley

ConnCAN names Hartford business leader as its Chairman of Board of Directors 
Derrick Diggs assumes leadership of statewide education advocacy organization as CT charts new course for kids
New Haven, CT  --  (Sept. 15, 2016) -- The Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now, or ConnCAN, today announced that Hartford business leader Derrick Diggs has been named the new chairman of its board of directors.

Diggs succeeds Will Heins, who served as chairman of the board of the New Haven-based education advocacy non-profit for the past three years. Heins will continue to serve on the board.  Under Heins’ leadership ConnCAN has worked to expand opportunities for students in high quality schools of choice, create new pathways to put more high-quality teachers and leaders in schools, led strategic coalitions that advanced crucial policy wins and stopped efforts to halt, delay or defund key reforms.
“ConnCAN is grateful to Will Heins for his years of leadership and ecstatic to welcome Derrick as the new chairman of our board of directors,” said Jennifer Alexander, CEO of ConnCAN. “Derrick’s passion to ensure that all children have access to a quality education, combined with his own experience as a student and a parent, makes him a great fit to lead our board. I have the utmost respect for him and his leadership, and I am excited about working with Derrick to fulfill our goal of improving education outcomes for all of Connecticut’s kids.”

Heins said, “Derrick’s dedication and insights have made him an asset to the board, and as its new chair, he will have an even greater impact on behalf of Connecticut's children. I am confident that he will push for improving access to quality schools, raising standards for students and breaking down barriers to hire talented teacher and leaders.  I know he will lead with enthusiasm to ensure all students get the great education they need and deserve.”

Diggs is President of Diggs Construction. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and economics from Morehouse College, a master’s degree from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, and a law degree from University of Pennsylvania. Derrick and his wife have four young children.Diggs discusses the need for quality education for all kids

“We have seen through recent court actions both at the state and federal level that there is a critical need to break down longstanding barriers and create opportunities so that all children in our state to have access to a high-quality education.” Diggs said. “We must act today to make sure our children are ready for the challenges of tomorrow.”
“By improving education, we can ensure that a student’s zip code does not determine his or her fate. We can ensure a brighter future for our state and break the cycle of poverty that holds far too many students back from fulfilling their potential,” Diggs said.

Diggs’ begins his term as Chairman on the heels of two historic moments in Connecticut education. Last month, four parents from Bridgeport and Hartford filed a lawsuit (Martinez v. Malloy) on behalf of their children at the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut to ensure all children have equal access to a quality education. Earlier this month, Hartford Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawsherissued a sweeping ruling in the historic Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding v. Rell case. In his ruling, Moukawsher called on the state to make bold changes to ensure a "rational, sustainable and verifiable" system to fulfill Connecticut's constitutional obligation to students.

Diggs lives at home with his wife, Rashida La Lande, and their four children.

Founded in 2004, New Haven-based ConnCAN is the state’s largest education advocacy organization. It brings advocates, policy makers, parents and educators together to change the system and give all kids access to great public schools. For more information about ConnCAN, go to our website