Founder & Executive Director
Dennis Culliton, M.A.T., C.A.G.S., is the Founder and Executive Director of the Witness Stones Project. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps before attending college at the University of Massachusetts, where he received degrees in anthropology and economics. After a decade working for the federal government, he went on to Quinnipiac University, graduating with a Master of Arts in Teaching in history. While in his third decade of teaching, he started the Witness Stones Project with his students in Guilford, Connecticut.
Culliton is the recipient of the Guilford Preservation Alliance’s Charles Hubbard Award for his research and public education on local slavery and the Connecticut Council for Social Studies’ Special Project Award for developing the innovative curriculum that prepares students to tell the story of the enslaved in their own communities. Culliton was awarded the Shoreline Newspapers’ Beacon Award for his work on the Witness Stones Project and for his volunteer service. Dennis is devoted to his wife, Linda, his three adult children, and his grandchildren, Frankie and Joseph.
Patricia Wilson Pheanious
Chair of the Board of Directors
Patricia Wilson Pheanious, J.D., M.S.W., was born in Willimantic, Connecticut. She earned a master’s degree in social work and a law degree from the University of Connecticut. She served in the Connecticut House of Representatives, representing the state’s 53rd District, and as the Commissioner of the State Department of Social Services. Representative Pheanious was also an associate professor of social work at the University of Connecticut and a trustee of the university. Her ancestors Phillis and Montros were among the first to be memorialized with Witness Stones.
Rita Coté, MLS, is a retired teacher and librarian.
Grace Zimmer is a former editor and publisher and President Emerita of the Hyland House Museum.
Lauren Cutuli is an educational and non-profit consultant.
Sylvia Gafford-Alexander is retired from the University of Connecticut School of Social Work, Organizational and Skill Development (DSS) where she served as the Executive Program Director.
Courtney King Murphy
Courtney King Murphy is the Director of Global Impact Citizenship at BNY Mellon.
Kevin Jennings • Michael Negrón • Susan Ruddock