• Remembering the Six Extraordinary Educators

    AASCU is profoundly saddened by the horrific shooting in Newtown, Connecticut and grieves for the entire Sandy Hook community.

    Our work in teacher education, and our unwavering belief that teachers can and do make a difference in the lives of others, is exemplified by the tremendous character, courage and actions of the six extraordinary educators killed in this massacre.

    We honor these educators—four of the six of those slain graduated from or were currently enrolled at AASCU institutions—and offer our deepest condolences to their families and friends.

    Rachel D'Avino (29), Special Education Assistant

    • Undergraduate degree, University of Hartford
    • Master’s degree, Post University
    • Working toward doctorate at the University of St. Joseph of Hartford

    Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung (47), Principal

    • Bachelor's degree in special education, Central Connecticut State University* 
    • Master's degree in education, Southern Connecticut State University* 
    • Recently began Ph.D. program at the Esteves School of Education at the Sage Colleges in New York

    Anne Marie Murphy (52), Special Education Assistant

    • Master of Science in Education, Southern Connecticut State University*

    Lauren Rousseau (30), Permanent Substitute Teacher

    • Bachelor's degree, University of Connecticut
    • Master's degree in elementary education, University of Bridgeport

    Mary Sherlach (56), School Psychologist

    • Undergraduate degree in psychology, SUNY Cortland* 
    • Master's degree from Southern Connecticut State University*

    Victoria Soto (27), First-Grade Teacher

    • Undergraduate degrees in elementary education and history, Eastern Connecticut State University, Class of 2008* 
    • Pursuing master’s degree in special education, Southern Connecticut State University*

    Eastern Connecticut State University recently established the Victoria Leigh Soto Endowed Memorial Scholarship Fund, a scholarship developed to support students in financial need who are studying to become teachers. Click here for more information.  


    Donations may be directed to:

    Victoria Leigh Soto Endowed Memorial Scholarship Fund,
    ECSU Foundation, Inc.,

    Eastern Connecticut State University
    83 Windham Street
    Willimantic, CT, 06226
    ATTN: Kenneth J. DeLisa Vice President for Institutional Advancement

    * Denotes AASCU member institution.