Damien Conners, New Executive Director At Excel Bridgeport

Damien Conners
Damien Conners

The education advocacy group Excel Bridgeport has named Damien Conners as the new executive director. From Excel Bridgeprt Board of Directors:

Previously, Damien served as the National Executive Director and COO of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Inc. (SCLC)—an organization led and co-founded by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Among other accomplishments during his tenure at SCLC beginning in 2010, he is honored to have founded the SCLC Poverty Institute, an organization founded to address systemic inequity. In 2013, Damien was honored with the Emancipation of Capital Award for his strategic and programmatic work around building coalitions to address socio-economic equity in the U.S.

Damien is a leader in the civil rights community and an activist on issues related to gender equity. He has sought to serve as a thought leader and to be of service in change efforts at the intersection of education, politics, race and religion. Originally from New Jersey, Damien’s earlier career included meaningful lessons from counseling “at-risk” youth in Newark, NJ public schools.

Damien graduated from Ramapo College of New Jersey and earned a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, receiving a Certificate in Women’s Study and a Certificate in Black Church. He earned his Masters of Theology from Emory University, where he received a certificate in Kingian Nonviolence Conflict Resolution. He has been a teaching associate and instructor at Emory University for the past five years. He resides in Bridgeport.

Excel Bridgeport is committed to working with parents and students in the City in the pursuit of an excellent education for all children.

We look forward to our work ahead. Please join us in welcoming Damien. He can be reached at damien.conners@excelbridgeport.org.



  1. Mr. Conners, as someone who claims to be a “civil rights leader,” you have joined an organization that spent over $100,000 to support Finch’s effort to take Bridgeport’s residents right to vote away, the vast majority of whose residents are minority. Excel Bridgeport also retained the legal services of Pullman & Comley (John Stafstrom) and filed an Amicus brief with the CT Supreme Court in SUPPORT of the illegal takeover of the Bridgeport Public Schools. What kind of “civil rights leader” would join such an organization? I am sure you are aware the most recognized civil rights organization in the United States, if not the world, passed a resolution in 2010 against charter schools and in full support of adequately funding our true public schools. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People reviewed data from 16 states and the District of Columbia and discovered that 17% of children in charter schools performed better than those in their local public schools, 47% performed no better or no worse and a WHOPPING 36% PERFORMED WORSE! That resolution is binding on every chapter of the NAACP. You are being used by the likes of Steve Mandel, hedge-fund billionaire from Greenwich who was involved in the illegal takeover of our public schools, Megan Lowney, Steve Mandel’s employee, involved in the illegal takeover of our schools and a member of the Excel Bridgeport Board of Directors and Nate Snow, Director of Teach for America in CT, involved in the illegal takeover of our schools and the president of the Excel Bridgeport Board of Directors.

    1. And of course he just happens to be from Newark NJ. This is a city that is being overrun with charter schools and is the former home of our outgoing Commissioner of Education, Stephen Pryor. Commissioner Pryor served as the deputy director of economic development in Newark. In fact, the newly elected Mayor recently defeated a pro-charter school mayoral candidate. This is also where Bridgeport’s newest charter school was originally founded. Coincidence? I think not.

    1. Mr. Conners, if you have gotten this far, please reread Maria’s post. Your resume couldn’t be more appropriate but the organization you’ve signed onto has no history of integrity or collaboration. Wish you the best because after these last years, Bridgeport sure deserves it, but you have a very tough row to how. Good luck with that.

  2. Maria P., you should be ashamed of yourself. You are a nasty, mean, ill-spirited devil. Have you even met this young man or had a conversation with him? I’m sure you haven’t.

    Then you defame Dr. King’s organization. Shameful. You have blatantly disrespected the history of African Americans and a tradition of freedom fighting you clearly do not understand. The SCLC is the organization and the leadership of the 1960s that led a multiracial movement for freedom of African Americans. Which I’m sure you care nothing about given your ill-spirited citation.

    Given your record of incendiary, defamatory rhetoric I am sure you will point the finger and re-direct this conversation back at the young man. But you should be sued for the vicious things you do and say about people. You are not a community builder. You do not operate in the spirit of Dr. King or any other noble personality in history who made real change. Instead you sit behind your computer in the comfort of your home pontificating and faux waxing intellectual. You slither your way around the city like Ursula spreading darkness. Where is your light, nasty woman? It is clear you need Jesus.

    I pray for your immediate salvation.

  3. BJones1911, suddenly you appear on OIB under a “faux” name. I haven’t made a single derogatory comment regarding Mr. Conners. My comments are directed at Excel Bridgeport and everything I have stated here is fact. If the facts offend you, that is something you should take up with Excel Bridgeport. In addition, I in no way defamed “Dr. King’s organization.” I simply put up a link to an overview of the organization that highlighted repeated turnover in its leadership.
    If you truly believe I should be sued and you will be successful in a court of law, I suggest you file a lawsuit. Don’t forget you will not be able to list BJones1911 as the plaintiff and you cannot list “Ursula” as the defendant, however you can always list “Maria Piranha” as the defendant and I will not have my attorney make an issue out of it. If you are an employee of Excel Bridgeport, ConnCAN, Northeast Charter Schools, Families for Excellent Schools, etc., you should probably wait ’til after 5:00 to respond. After all, you wouldn’t want your millionaire/billionaire donors to think they weren’t getting their money’s worth.

  4. BJones1911, by the way you wrote “You are a nasty, mean, ill-spirited devil. Have you even met this young man or had a conversation with him? I’m sure you haven’t.” This leads me to ask you, have you ever met me or had a conversation with me? Based on your “nasty” comments, I am sure you wouldn’t want to be described as a hypocrite.

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