For his overall efforts, Dr. Conner was recognized by the Network Journal as a “Top 40 Under 40” recipient. He was also recognized by the Connecticut NAACP in 2018 and 2021 (100 Most Influential Blacks in Connecticut), Middlesex NAACP (Education Award), Eleven28 Entertainment (100 Men of Color Award), Cross Street African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (Rev. George E. Battle Senior Education Award), Middlesex United Way (Community Leadership Award), and DECA Inc. (National Administrator of the Year). Under his leadership, Middletown Public Schools was recognized as a 2018 – 2019 AASA/SPN National Innovation and Transformational District, which only seventeen districts nationally received this distinction. Dr. Conner’s vision and design for the Innovative Lab at Beman Middle School (Middletown, CT) was selected as a New England Finalist for Innovative Space of the Year by Tech and Learning Magazine. Also, Middletown Public Schools received the honor as a 2019 – 2020 and 2020 – 2021 National Innovative District by the International Center for Leadership in Education.
Recently, Middletown Public Schools was selected as a 2021 – 2022 Learning 2025 National Commission Demonstration District by the National School Superintendents Association (AASA). Dr. Conner has been featured in AASA’s School Administrator Magazine for his article entitled What Mentoring Means to a New Superintendent of Color. Middletown Public Schools was featured in Time Magazine in August 2020 and AASA’s School Administrators Magazine in an article written by Dr. Ray McNulty highlighting an innovative blended learning model that underpinned the latest research around personalized learning using artificial intelligence. In the 2020 – 2021 academic year, Middletown High School was chosen as a “Top 40 High School” by the U.S. News and Report. This was the first time in the history of MPS that Middletown High School has been selected for this honor. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Conner was selected by Governor Ned Lamont to serve on the state’s Learn from Home Task Force, which helped distribute materials and technology resources to all districts in Connecticut. Dr. Conner was selected by the National School Superintendents Association (AASA) to serve on the National American Rescue Plan Committee and Learning 2025: National Commission on Student-Centered Equity-Focused Education as a commissioner. His recommendations as a commissioner on the Learning 2025 National Commission are embedded in the landmark report entitled An American Imperative: A New Vision of Public Schools. Dr. Conner serves on several boards and advisory committees such as Lasell University (Board of Trustees), United Way (Board of Directors), COSN (Consortium for School Networking – National Superintendents Advisory Panel), University of Connecticut NEAG Leadership Preparation Advisory Committee, Future Ready Schools (National Future Ready Advisor), LINC (Learning Innovation Catalyst – Advisor), and Quill.org (Board of Directors).