Coelho, Sandra 4385916_19834084 Newsletter REVISEDDr. Sandra Signorelli Coelho initially had aspirations to become a nun. Under the instruction of her parents, she was informed to wait until she reached adulthood to finish college and then consider if that particular path was still right for her. Marrying her late husband Walter in 1964, Dr. Coelho was inspired by his profession as a teacher, as well as her parents’ roles in the educational realm. Between their influences, as well as her past experiences babysitting, she decided that teaching would become her calling.

At the inception of her career in 1962, Dr. Coelho was a teacher for the Torrington Board of Education for three years before becoming a K-12 technical and mathematics coordinator at the East Windsor Board of Education, a position she held for the subsequent 37 years. Retiring from that role in 2002, she then became a consultant for the Connecticut Academy, Enfield Town Hall and Project to Improve Mastery in Mathematics and Science (PIMMS) at Wesleyan University between 2003 and 2008, for which she was also an associate director of mathematics for four years and a presidential advisory committee advisor at Addison-Wasley Connect Mathematics Services for one year.

Dr. Coelho notably earned a PhD from Richmonds University in 2006. Alongside her primary endeavors, she is a past Assistive Technical Task Force member of the State of Connecticut, former presenter for C.A.B.E. and past president of the Connecticut Council of Leaders of Mathematics. Civically involved as well, she is a past chair of the East Windsor Technical Committee and former chair of the town-wide curriculum committee for East Windsor, Connecticut.

As a testament to her success, Dr. Coelho was nominated for the Golden Apple Award in 1998 and was named an Apple Computer Scholar in 1996. In the late 1980s, she was also recognized as a PIMMS fellow at Wesleyan University. However, the proudest moments of her career were influencing her students in a positive manner. She recalls one particular moment when a former student, with two children of his own, approached her to recognize her for her influence on him growing up. Additionally, she was praised by a former female student who wrote a book titled “Crash Course: AP Computer Science Principles,” who in a note to Dr. Coelho wrote, “Thank you for encouraging me to be better than I thought was possible.”

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