Dean Pianta Received Neag School of Education Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award

On Saturday, March 22, Curry School of Education Dean Bob Pianta was awarded the Naeg Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award.

The press release from the Naeg School follows:

Robert C. Pianta received the Neag Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award from the Neag School of Education Alumni Society of the University of Connecticut. Pianta was recently recognized at the 16th Annual Awards Dinner of the Neag School of Education Alumni Society.

Known as a nationally recognized expert in early childhood education and K-12 teaching and learning, Pianta is the Dean of Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. He also holds positions as the Novartis Professor of Education and Founding Director of the Curry School’s Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning. Pianta received his B.S. in 1977 and M.A. in 1978 in special education from the Neag School of Education.

“Dr. Pianta is truly a leader in national efforts to define, identify, calibrate, and assess effective teaching,” said Marijke Kehrhahn, associate dean of the Neag School of Education. “His work is fueled by an absolute dedication to every child’s right to a high quality education. He has truly influenced how we think and act to that same end.”

Pianta is the creator of an observational assessment of teacher-student interactions known as the Classroom Assessment Scoring System™ or CLASS, which has been used by every Head Start program in the country, affecting 50,000 teachers and over half a million students. He also developed My Teaching Partner™ or MTP, a series of professional development supports engineered to improve teachers’ effectiveness in the classroom.

“Dr. Pianta’s intensive and creative work has led to the development of the most highly researched tools available in the U.S. to evaluate and scaffold the development of high leverage teaching practices,” added Kehrhahn. 

Pianta is the author of more than 250 articles, 50 book chapters, and 11 books, and has been a principal investigator on research and training grants totaling over $55 million. He served as the editor of the Journal of School Psychology from 1997 to 2007.

The Washington Post calls him “one of America’s smartest educational scholars.” In addition, Pianta was named one of the “Most Influential Scholars in Education Policy” on 2013 RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Presence Ranking by Education Week. He was also named one of the “Most Highly Cited Researchers of 2012” in the area of Psychology/Psychiatry by Web of Science (ISI). Pianta regularly consults with federal agencies and foundations including National Early Education Council, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Louisiana State Department of Education and Head Start National Research Advisory Board.

For more information about Neag School of Education or the Neag School Alumni Society Awards Dinner, visit