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PROUD Academy Partnership to be Celebrated

PROUD Academy, in partnership with Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) and National School Choice Week (NSCW), will be hosting an event at the SCSU Adanti Student Center Ballroom on Thursday, January 26, 6-8 PM, in celebration of NSCW.

“Every child deserves a quality education,” says NSCW. “We help families discover the traditional public, charter, magnet, private, online, and home education options available for their families.”

PROUD Academy, Inc. is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization with the goal of opening and operating a private school for grades 7-12, beginning with 125 students in its first year, grades 7-10. “With our team of dedicated individuals and fierce LGBTQ+ advocates, we are confident that PROUD Academy will be a strong pillar of support for Connecticut youth,” says Executive Director Patricia “Patty” Nicolari. PROUD Academy has an ambitious goal of opening in September of 2023.

PROUD is an acronym for “Proudly Respecting Our Unique Differences.”

SCSU’s partnership aims to assist PROUD Academy with targeted human and organizational resources that will assist in the foundation of the school, according to Kelvin Rutledge, associate vice president for institutional inclusive strategies and change management at Southern. Three core components for engagement are: 1) an academic connection to SCSU’s early college program for 10th-12th graders; 2) capacity for SCSU faculty, students, and staff to have intentional volunteer and mentorship opportunities in partnership with PROUD Academy and its students; and 3) continue to serve the Greater New Haven community as the region’s public university through collaborative events and experiences on and off campus.

“As the university continues to enact its aspiration goal of becoming a socially just and anti-racist university, intentional community engagement that aligns with our institutional values and goals is paramount to the division,” says Rutledge. “PROUD Academy envisions serving LGBTQ+ and other historically marginalized 7-12 graders in the Greater New Haven area and throughout this state. The focus on curating community and belonging as well as serving the state resonates highly.”

The NSCW event will feature keynote speaker Celeste Lecesne, co-founder of The Trevor Project and Executive Director of The Future Perfect Project. Also in attendance will be guest speakers Kai Shappley, a transgender actress and activist; Erick Russell, the Connecticut state treasurer and first out gay Black statewide elected official in the United States; and Kevin Jennings, founder of GLSEN national, CEO of lambda legal, and the “Anti-Bullying Czar.”

To learn more about PROUD Academy, please visit its website at www.proudacademyct.org or contact Board member Brandon Iovene at ioveneb1@southernct.edu. To register for the January 26 event, visit the registration page.


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