Stephanie Wanzer, Class of 1991
What being an alumna means to me...
The education I received at Manhattanville has been influential in my role as a political advocate and educator. I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science in 1991. Since then I have become a special educator in the state of Connecticut, president of my local union, and a board member for Fairfield County in the Connecticut Education Association. I am a strong voice for the rights of all public school teachers and, as a special educator; I am an advocate for individuals with disabilities. Manhattanville gave me the opportunity to experience a liberal arts education that presented me with diverse perspectives, thoughtful ideas, and has given me the ability to express my voice in education policy.
While at Manhattanville, I captained the girls’ basketball and field hockey teams. During that time, I saw how working together, trust, and respect help to build cohesive teams. It has taught me to be a leader in my field and I am proud to have been part of the Valiant community. The friends I have made at Manhattanville continue to be the best people I have ever met. Those lasting bonds are what I remember each and every time I step onto the campus. I am grateful to Manhattanville’s Alumni giving; it allowed me to be the first of my immediate family to receive a college degree. That is why I volunteer my time as the class co-chair of 1991 to help support the Fund for Manhattanville as it continues to give opportunities to students who want a great education.
Stephanie Wanzer `91
Following my years at Manhattanville, I graduated from Southern Connecticut State University with a certification in special education, an MS in Special Education in Interdisciplinary Studies, and a Sixth Year degree in Educational Leadership.
I am a special education teacher and component leader in a self-contained classroom at Cooperative Educational Services (C.E.S.) in Trumbull, CT. The Developmental Learning Center (DLC) is a regional program for children ages 12-18 who fall within the Autism Spectrum Disorder continuum or have other pervasive developmental disabilities. This program is designed to facilitate the transition from school to adult life. Utilizing a functional curriculum the activities in this program focus on assisting students to become as independent as possible in domestic, community and vocational settings. I also ran a winter program for our Regional Center for the Arts (RCA) at C.E.S. on play writing. I am the chair for our DLC fundraising committee; I am a member of the TEAM Coordinating Committee and part of the C.E.S. Evaluation Committee for the new state reform plan. I started the C.E.S. Teacher of the Year award and assist in the Para Professional of the Year. I have helped run the Annual C.E.S. Golf Tournaments and was in charge of last year’s C.E.S. annual 5K run to help fund projects and programs for students. I am the President of the CESEA and Fairfield County Board member for the CEA.
In July, I spoke in front of the body of the National Education Association Representative Assembly in support of special education initiatives. I have testified for special educator’s certification rights for the Connecticut State Department of Education as well as testify on the merits of a Master’s Degree in response to Connecticut reform bill SB24 in front of the state legislator’s education committee.
I have coached field hockey at Manhattanville in 1991, New Fairfield High School, Ridgefield High School and Fairfield High School. For fun I play co-ed softball in Danbury, run (I have the Hartford Half Marathon on Saturday, October 13th), golf, and play coed volleyball. I love to travel and have been to Scotland, Ireland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, England, and Wales.