Who We Are
Better Manchester started off as quarterly print and digital magazine featuring local news, stories and the Department of Leisure, Family and Recreation Program and Event Brochure. The concept was simple – be a communication bridge between the community, policy makers and key stakeholders to create a Better Manchester.
We did just that. For ten years we published a quarterly magazine and an accompanying program and event brochure. View all ten years here!
Times, people, and communities change – and so do we.
Welcome to the Evolution of Better Manchester!
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Let us know how we’re doing! Send us an email or drop us a line! We always love hearing from you and appreciate the feedback.
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Born and bred in Manchester, Stacey Zackin returned to her hometown after a varied career in Hollywood, working as an Adjunct Professor in the Business Schools of UConn & Univ. Of New Haven teaching Career Development and Workforce Diversity and earning multiple degrees including a BS in Film/Photography, Masters in Social Work and Non-Profit Management and a PhD in Depth Psychology. She brings her experience in the creative arts, business administration and human behavior to her role as Manager of WORK_SPACE, the municipal Coworking, Meeting & Gallery space in the heart of Downtown Manchester. Currently working on transforming her dissertation on The Psychology of Hospitality: Creating Welcoming & Inclusive Environment into a book, Stacey is excited to work with the many people in Manchester who support creating hospitable spaces for people to come together to work and play and share meaningful experiences.
Fun Fact #1: Stacey has checked the following off her bucket list: attend the Academy Awards, walk a full marathon and hold a Koala Bear.
Fun Fact #2: Stacey’s mind is like her office….crowded, messy & filled with exciting discoveries.
My name is James Costa, and I am a Staff Writer for Better Manchester and a Facilities Director for the Neighborhoods & Families Division. I first started working with the division during my sophomore year at Manchester High School, and I am now a UConn graduate with degrees in Journalism & Film Studies.
Fun Fact #1: I won my car in a raffle during Manchester High School’s Project Graduation.
Fun Fact #2: My all-time favorite movies are All That Heaven Allows, Punch-Drunk Love & Twin Peaks: The Return.
I am a lifelong resident of Manchester and a Facility Director with the Department of Leisure, Families, and Recreation. I graduated Manchester High School in 2017 and I’m currently an undergraduate student majoring in International Studies at Boston College. I am an editor for The Gavel, a progressive student publication, and a co-director for FACES, the anti-racism student organization at Boston College.
Fun Fact #1: I studied abroad in Granada, Spain. The Alhambra was the most beautiful place I’d ever been.
Fun Fact #2: I can speak Spanish and one day want to be fluent.
Born and raised in Manchester, Jakob is the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Coordinator for the Neighborhoods and Families Division. He is currently in his undergrad at UConn majoring in Urban and Community Studies. He has a passion for equality, music and the residential life in Manchester.
Fun Fact #1: I love to dance and eat salsa.
Fun Fact #2: I am a song writer and musician.
Beth Mix lives in Manchester and has worked at the Manchester Youth Service Bureau for over 20 years. She loves Scrabble and poker and movies and her cats. Her youngest son is about to graduate from Cheney Tech.
Fun Fact #1 Her last name is a noun, a verb and a Roman numeral.
Fun Fact #2 She can ride a unicycle
I am the proud wife of a combat veteran and mother of a 4 year old daughter and 3 year old son. The biggest lesson I have always taught and will continue to teach my children as they grow is that kindness comes above all else. I have been a full time Town of Manchester employee for twelve years now and love what I do, the people I work with and the town that I serve!
Fun Fact #1: I come from a Greek family where food is not only a conversation piece, or a way to celebrate, but a way to warm the soul and bring people together. I love to cook and even have an Instagram page dedicated to just that!
Fun Fact #2: I have been writing poetry ever since I was a child learning how to write a haiku.
Greetings everyone! I was born and raised in Manchester and a graduate of Howell Cheney Tech. I’ve worked part time with the Department of Leisure, Family and Recreation for the last 17 years as a Aquatics Director and a Building Director. Recently I was hired full time as a Recreation Supervisor and will be overseeing the Aquatics program, Community “Y” and various tasks throughout the town!
- Fun Fact #1 I was a Cast Member at Walt Disney World!
- Fun Fact #2 Married my High School Sweetheart who I met while working for the Rec Department.
RiseUP for Arts is Connecticut’s only state-wide Public Art nonprofit with a mission to help communities imagine what’s possible. We launched our CT Murals program in 2015 in response to communities and local artists’ need for support in creating more vibrant and positive towns and cities across Connecticut.
Fun Fact #1 We’ve completed over 25 murals projects across the state
Fun Fact #2 We love Manchester
Nico Arias is a Recreation Supervisor with the Department of Leisure, Family and Recreation. He oversees management and execution of Better Manchester Magazine and Better Manchester Online as well as numerous other marketing and communication initiatives for the division and department. He enjoys hiking, camping and all things outdoors.
Fact #1: Can complete a rubix cube.
Fact #2: Loves PIZZA.
The Manchester Early Childhood Collaborative is a diverse group of community members who strive to support the families of young children, ages prenatal to age eight by:
- Advocating for the advancement of young children’s learning
- Encouraging quality preschool services, programs and policies to promote the overall wellbeing of Manchester’s children
- Communicating about school readiness among families, schools and the community, and
- Developing programs that support families with young children.
Hello reader, I’m Estefany! As a life long resident and Content Creator for the Town of Manchester, I am passionate about sharing stories and information that connect people and organizations.
Fun Fact #1: I collect ukuleles and currently have 7 in my collection.
Fun Fact #2: I was born in Medellin, Colombia.
Debbie Streeter has been a paraeducator in the Manchester School System for over 30 years. She has been involved in many school and community organizations during this time. In addition to the Manchester Greater Together Community Fund, she is also currently a member of the Second Congregational Church and MISAC.
Fun Fact #1: Debbie and her husband Dean have worked on racecar teams at Stafford Speedway for over 30 years.
Fun Fact #2 During the summer they like to take their camper to different racetracks throughout the northeast.
Anthony is a staff writer for Better Manchester. He attended school in Manchester for many years, and recently graduated from Boston College with a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy.
Fun Fact #1: I am a die-hard fan of the English Premier League club Arsenal F.C.
Fun Fact #2: I’ve met Danny DeVito, and yes, we took a picture together.
Quoron Walker is a well known name in the Manchester community. He is a former journalist for the Manchester edition of the Hartford Courant’s Courant Community newspaper. He currently works as the Communication & Development Coordinator for the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center and is a freelance writer.
Fun Fact #1 Quoron is a singer/songwriter and actor.
Fun Fact #2 Quoron and The Wayne Patrik Band haver performed several times at Spruce Street Market Nights.
Hi, I’m Bri! I recently joined the Town of Manchester as the new Communications Manager. What excites me most is the opportunity to make a real positive impact on people’s quality of life and to be part of a prideful, thriving, and evolving community.
Fun Fact #1: My first slice of pizza (ever) was at Randy’s Wooster Street Pizza
Fun Fact #2: I’m a proud plant mom 🙂
James Przybylski is a Recreation Supervisor overseeing the Division of Neighborhoods and Families. His responsibilities include progressing the Town of Manchester’s Diversity, Equity, and
Inclusion plan. James is a dedicated husband and father, he resides in Madison, CT.
Fun Fact #1: I’ve been rock climbing for nearly 25 years throughout the U.S. and abroad
Fun Fact #2: I can start a fire with an orange peel
Hi, I’m Deidre! I recently joined the Town of Manchester as the Journalism Intern for Better Manchester Magazine. I’m currently a student majoring in Communications – Journalism at Manchester Community College. I was a former Editor in Chief for the MCC Live Wire Campus Newspaper, and am the current Treasurer for MCC’s ICE Radio at 1620 AM. I am also a freelance writer for the Northend Agent’s Newspaper, Connecticut’s largest and longest-published African
Fun Fact #1 I love to sing Gospel music!
Fun Fact #2 KevOnStage is my favorite online comedian to watch. 🙂
Since 2015 Susan Barlow has served Manchester as its official and acting Town Historian. She leads history walks, conducts research, updates the Historical Society’s website www.manchesterhistory.org and Facebook pages, and produces a weekly Manchester history e-newsletter. Susan served as a Historical Society director for 10 years, public-access television producer for 19 years, event coordinator for six years, and co-chair of the Society’s annual history tours for school children for 10 years. She also serves on the Cheney Brothers National Historic District Commission, as a town appointed advisor on matters within the Landmark District. These roles have all provided wonderful opportunities to meet people, visit historic homes, and find out more about our Town’s rich history. Susan believe that through education and preservation, we can increase awareness of all that we have in Manchester, and improve our appreciation of the town’s past and present.
Bill Ludwig is a long-time Manchester resident. He is a prolific singer-songwriter and the current Official Manchester Town Troubadour. Bill is also a champion of the arts and has been recently named President of Imagine Main Street.
- Fun Fact #1 As of April, 2021, Bill has released ten albums of original music.
- Fun Fact #2 During the Covid-19 pandemic, Bill livestreamed himself singing to his chickens every weekday morning for over a year.
CAST children’s theatre is a regional nonprofit organization based in Manchester for ages 5-18. We are helping to preserve the arts in the Greater Manchester area and beyond with participants from many communities.
The mission of CAST is to enrich the lives of children through the magic of performing arts, thereby inspiring them to strive toward higher goals. We do this one line at a time, one show at a time, one child at a time
I am a college student and am currently working towards my marine biology degree. My goal is to become a shark biologist or do scientific research on the ocean. I previously published a children’s book titled “Our Beautiful World” to encourage kids to be curious and appreciative of the environment and the people around them. I currently run @prjectfin on Instagram where I educate and create posts on important topics about our planet. My hope is to encourage others to get educated, do better for our planet and maybe even impact the world for a better future.
- Fun Fact #1 I do taekwondo in my free time.
- Fun Fact #2 I have over 13 plants in my room the biggest one being the Monstera.
Missy has been a Recreation Supervisor at the Senior Center for 4 years and has been working with the senior population for over 7 years. She loves working
with people, the UConn huskies, and anything Disney.
Fun Fact #1 I have a twin sister.
Fun Fact #2 I’ve been to Disney World 10 times.
Design, color, and all things creative are my passion. Through the lens of my Nikon, I see what others neglect and collect moments that pass way too fast. The world is my canvas and the sands of a beach
capture my heart.
GMCC Leadership Academy graduate
Manchester Government Academy graduate
Manchester Police Citizens Academy graduate
SWAN Day CT
Manchester ARTS Commission 2018 inductee
Crimson ART Box
Fun Fact #1 I like to dig in the dirt and paint on walls
Fun Fact #2 Paparazzi for Beauty Queens and K9 First Responders