Take a moment to review each profile so you can be informed and prepared when you go to the polls on Nov. 5, 2013.
This week, we are looking at the Southington Board of Education candidates.
Party, Board Seeking: Democrat, Southington Board of Education
Family Information: Wife – Betty, former principal of Plantsville and Kelly Elementary Schools and former Assistant Principal at Derynoski Elementary School. Son – Michael lives in Arlington, MA with his wife Jessica. Daughter – Kristen lives in Canton MA with her husband Matt and our two grandchildren, Max and Rose.
Occupation: Retired English teacher and Director of Technology at Notre Dame High School in West Haven, CT
Political Experience: Meriden Board of Education – 14 years, 10 years as chair of the budget committee. Meriden School Building Committee – 14 years,10 years as Vice Chairman. Meriden Board of Education liaison to City Council and Mayor’s Office – 14 years. Berlin Board of Education – 2 years
Other Experience: Southington Education Foundation – Original member and former Vice Chairman and Chairman of the Executive Committee. Meriden Lions Club – President 2011.
Why did you run for office?
Education is the key to our future as a town, state and nation. The Board of Education should be the leaders in developing both a vision for the school system and the leader in creating and developing a consensus in town to support and improve the public schools. I have the knowledge and communication skills necessary to accomplish both of these vital tasks.
If elected, what would be your primary areas of focus?
If elected, my initial focus will be on the following:
Urge the BOE to develop a detailed vision for where the district needs to be in five years. This vision must avoid generalizations and include specific goals that are measurable. Before being formally adopted by the BOE, this vision should be presented to the entire community through a “State of the Schools” forum. The entire community, parents, business, school staff, senior citizens, as well as the political leadership of the town should comment on and evaluate this plan. After this “State of the School” forum, the BOE should fine tune the vision based on community input and adopt it as the framework for all that it does. This process will promote the participation of the whole town in developing a vision for our schools. It will also create a context within which all budgetary requests can be viewed. This creation of a town wide consensus about both the direction the schools need to take and the importance of education will be my first priority.
What do you feel is the biggest issue facing Southington today?
I believe that the biggest issue facing Southington today is the creation of a world class 21st century school system. We have very good public schools in Southington; however, to attract new businesses and industry to our town, we must create world class public schools. These schools will serve as an economic engine that will drive the local economy. Everyone benefits from a truly great school system. Businesses have a well educated workforce from which to draw. Senior citizens who want to downsize and sell their four bedroom homes will benefit from a strong local real estate market. Those who run and own new businesses will find Southington a great place to live and raise a family. They will lend their talents and skills to local government and service clubs. A great town needs a great public school system.
What skills do you have that you could bring to the community?
I can work with people to develop a vision for our schools and create a consensus to support that vision. I have the ability work with people of different viewpoints and from the differences that we have, help to create a vision that we can all support. The Board of Education must not just manage the schools. The Board must be a forceful and powerful advocate for the schools. This advocacy must involve dialogue with the entire community. I have shown that I can be a leader in that kind of dialogue and look forward to helping to create that vision and consensus.
(Optional) Anything else you would like to share?
While both of my children attended public schools, neither went to the Southington schools. Why then, you might ask, am I interested in running for the Board of Education, a totally voluntary, time consuming position. The answer is simple: I know that a great, not a very good, school system is essential to our future. My commitment to education is such that even though I have no direct connection to the schools in Southington, I will work every day to make both our schools and our town great.
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