LEARN Welcomes New CFO Michael Belden

LEARN Welcomes New CFO Michael Belden
Michael Belden, LEARN CFO

LEARN has hired Michael W. Belden as its new Chief Financial Officer to oversee the agency’s $51.6 million operating budget and to ensure the fiscal health of the agency for years to come. 

Formerly the Chief Operating Officer for Hamden Public Schools, as well as a past CFO for his hometown of Middlebury, Belden began his role at LEARN on July 1. His extensive experience in both the public and private sectors drew him to LEARN’s commitment to districts and children.

“Over the next five or 10 years, the role of the RESCs are going to become more important as districts confront budgetary and other challenges,” Belden said. “It’s our job to provide excellent service to our member towns to help them meet those challenges and provide the best possible education to all students.”

LEARN is one of six Regional Educational Service Centers (RESCs) in the state and serves 25 towns with a total public school student population of 53,000 students. Its central office is in Old Lyme. The agency serves the region with special education programs for students from birth to age 21, professional development, and many more educational services to public school districts throughout southeastern Connecticut. LEARN also operates seven interdistrict magnet schools throughout the state, as well as the new Ocean Avenue LEARNing Academy in New London, which opened in 2019 serving students with disabilities. 

In his new role at LEARN, Belden now oversees the payroll for more than 600 employees, including 252 certified staff members, and school budgets serving more than 2,000 students. He also serves as the chief financial advisor to LEARN’s new Executive Director Katherine Ericson, who likewise assumed office on July 1. 

“With his tremendous experience running a $125 million school budget in Hamden, along with several years of responsibly managing finances in Middlebury, we are confident that Michael Belden will be a great addition to the LEARN team,” Ericson said. “His insight and expertise are a boon to this agency, our employees, and the districts who support us.” 

Belden is also committed to community service. He is a prior member of the Middlebury Board of Finance, a longtime youth soccer coach, and organizer for his local United Way. He had a successful banking career before entering the public sector and attended Babson College, graduating with a double major in Finance and Investments. 

Always dedicated to education, Belden cites the values he learned from his mother, a leading educator of young children. She helped shape his core values and commitment to supporting learners of all ages, across a variety of mediums.

“My mother spent her entire career in education," he said. "Her education career included many years as an elementary teacher, establishing one of the first pre-schools in the State of Connecticut, as an education consultant for Holt Reinhart and Winston in New York City, and as a mentor for many of the younger teachers as they began their careers in teaching. Her creativity and love for teaching lit a spark in me that continues to inspire to this day.”

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