DECISION 2021: North Stonington Board of Education, Board of Finance candidates seek to address major needs in coming term | North Stonington

NORTH STONINGTON — There will be a combine of familiar faces and new names on the town’s Board of Education in the coming term as incumbents Christine Wagner, a Republican, and Democrat Jamie Towle-Weicksel will be joined by newcomers Stanley “Chet” Stefanowicz and Lisa Mazzella on a board that will be turning an eye toward the upcoming. Democrat Jennifer Welborn will also return, working unopposed to fill a two-12 months vacancy.

On the Board of Finance, a Democratic incumbent and Republican newcomer will just about every acquire comprehensive terms together with a Republican filling a four-yr emptiness. Every single bash will also have an alternate seated adhering to Tuesday’s election.

With only three contested races on the ballot this calendar year, candidates for the two the Board of Education and Board of Finance will all acquire terms pursuing the approaching Connecticut area elections, but that has not prevented candidates from campaigning to listen to from voters and start off analyzing what the townspeople would like to see going forward.

For the Board of Education and learning, in distinct, that will include relocating on from facility renovations that were being accomplished in the past few years to getting a feasible, qualified very long-time period substitute to fill the sneakers of Superintendent Peter L. Nero, who has announced he will retire at the conclusion of the school year in June.

“The major precedence in the coming term will be to discover a candidate who will be equipped to come in, supply prolonged-expression stability and build on the successes that the district has experienced,” said Wagner, 52, who served as chairwoman of the Board of Instruction in the course of the preceding phrase.

Board of Education

A 15-12 months resident of the town, Wagner and her spouse Jason moved to the community for the colleges and tiny city environment. A Point out Farm coverage agent with her own company in New London, she said she has been honored to be ready to be a member of the board as it has labored to posture the district for long-time period good results.

In addition to searching for the proper match at superintendent, Wagner stated the future expression will also contain attempts to make confident any gaps in schooling as a final result of the pandemic are tackled and to assure that no college student has fallen through the cracks. The district’s personnel has done an excellent occupation, she reported, but equally the pupils and personnel will need to have a board that continues to function with each other and puts apart partisan politics to provide the highest high quality instruction it can for town small children.

Towle-Weicksel echoed Wagner’s plans, declaring that board members will will need to look for for a superintendent who will be ready to grab the torch and have it forward in order to choose an now great school district to the upcoming amount.

“We are heading to need another person who is energetic, thrilled to be in this article and prepared to work collaboratively with our focused employees to support the district continue on to increase,” she explained.

The mother of a next-quality scholar, Violet, with her spouse Steven, Towle-Weicksel operates a exploration laboratory as a biochemist specializing in melanoma investigation. She became involved in the university local community when her daughter joined the district, and she was aspect of a group of dad and mom who elevated $120,000 final year for alternative of getting old, perilous playground equipment at North Stonington Elementary Faculty.

She explained she liked the experience and preferred to do additional, which led her to run. In her returning job, she stated she will keep on being focused on creating sure insurance policies and techniques are equitable for all pupils and that they have the resources required to prosper.

Newcomers Stefanowicz and Mazzella, in the meantime, every single come to the board with their own expertise in education. An 18-12 months public educational institutions teacher who operates in Preston, Stefanowicz has a bachelor’s diploma in Spanish and global reports and a master’s diploma from Sacred Heart College in education. He expended several a long time as a little one protecting worker in Iowa prior to shifting to a profession as a instructor.

Mazzella, 56, is a 28-yr resident in North Stonington with huge expertise functioning with the district’s PTOs including serving two a long time as a PTO president. She has also served for 7 years as as a troop leader for the Female Scouts of The united states, is a co-founder of the Knowledgeable Citizens of North Stonington, or ICONS, is co-editor of North Stonington Quarterly and has served on the Board of Evaluation Appeals.

Both of those explained this week that they have always felt a distinctive connection to the school neighborhood and, right after locating them selves with the time to do so, needed to stage up and serve in a greater capability as an elected official. Both of those also cited the employing of a new superintendent as a top and instant goal whilst expressing a need to deliver their possess abilities to other desires within just the district.

A “student of communication,” Stefanowicz explained he feels his information of the training procedure and potential to assume analytically will permit him to strike the floor running, and explained whilst the town maintains outstanding examination scores and rankings, there are often areas that can be enhanced upon. He famous that he believes conversation is just one of the parts the place the district can enhance.

“Right now, we have a challenge obtaining participation and we need to have to appear at why,” he claimed. “With the pandemic and Zoom meetings, there should really have been 200 parents some nights checking in or viewing back and we have experienced not even a portion of that. In a tiny city, we will need to determine out what is keeping dad and mom out of the process and handle that far more straight.”

In the meantime, Mazzella mentioned she also sees communications as an place of require and would like to see more work performed to boost interpersonal conversation for students. She explained she would like to see plans change so that college students however receive technological training, but are paying more time interacting deal with-to-face and fewer time with their faces glued to a unit.

“It is significant, as research have shown via the pandemic to have our learners concerned in appropriate social conversation is a critical aspect of childhood improvement,” she mentioned.

In seeking the seat to fill a two-yr vacancy, Welborn will keep on to serve in a function she has in excess of the earlier expression. She reported she had currently served part-time after being elected to fill a 4-year expression herself and preferred to give Stefanowicz and Mazzella a likelihood to search for whole first conditions fairly than forcing them into an abbreviated two-12 months place.

That won’t cease the skilled chemist and Navy veteran, who attained a rank of lieutenant, from continuing to be devoted to her work. She mentioned she options to get her point of view as a former trainer and use it to consider and deliver staff members and students with the assets they need to have to realize success, no make a difference exactly where life may just take them after Wheeler Higher School. She mentioned she would also like to continue on to appear at scheduling and other components, such as start out occasions, in an work to support enhance university student understanding.

“There is a large amount of work however to be finished, and I look forward to operating with the other members of the board to do what is very best for our youngsters,” she said.

Board of Finance

Democratic incumbent Sarah Nelson, who served the preceding phrase as alternate to the Board of Finance, will sq. off on the ballot in opposition to Republican challenger Gary Annino, a longtime volunteer who ventured into elected politics for the initially time in 2021. Although voters will pick one, each will provide on the board.

At 56 years outdated, Annino explained his father generally taught him the significance of providing again to the local community you connect with property. His father and brother have just about every served as 1st selectmen wherever he grew up, and Annino has been energetic in North Stonington, which include volunteering for 10 several years on the Wheeler Library Board of Administrators, together with serving as president.

Annino, who life in city with his wife, Stephanie, and their son, Chris, mentioned he would get the job done to delve deep into line things, operate to supply higher transparency and request to locate a balance to support identify and meet up with the town’s monetary requires even though maintaining an eye on effect to taxpayers. He stated that, given troubles presented by the pandemic and outcome of a recent revaluation, it would be essential for whoever is elected to not be worried to ask queries and supply responses for the public, as nicely as set limitations to guarantee that taxpayers are not overburdened.

Nelson, 41, has a bachelor’s degree in common reports with a small in anthropology from the University of Connecticut and is an IT method manager specializing in mergers and acquisitions with Pfizer.

With no competitiveness on the ballot, Republican Carl R. Johnston Jr. will be elected to fill a 4-12 months vacancy on the Board of Finance. Johnston, 63, is the operator of CRJ Home Advancement LLC and functions as a typical contractor.

The ballot will also include two candidates to provide as alternates to the Board of Finance, Republican Amy Buddy and Democrat Winona Berdine.

Close friend, 42, a wife and mom of two, initial moved to North Stonington about 5 years back and explained she has always experienced an curiosity in politics and volunteering as a public servant in the local community. She has attained bachelor’s and master’s levels in political science from the University of Rhode Island and Master’s of Science degree in education and learning from the College of New Haven.

For the duration of the pandemic, Pal claimed she observed extra time to adhere to city politics and turned concerned right after observing officials investing funds that voters had not accepted.

She said governing administration investing has also concentrated much too substantially on progress, and she would search for to obtain equilibrium between suitable growth in the neighborhood through organizations and enterprises with ties to agriculture, allowing the group to grow its grand checklist without the need of compromising the rural, smaller-city placing that so several citizens enjoy.

“I come to feel strongly that the town of North Stonington really should not be producing bargains or economical conclusions devoid of input from the general public,” Good friend explained. “People in the neighborhood should really have a lot more say, and some of these selections currently being built will need to be brought prior to the community for voters to make a decision. That will continue to be a precedence for me.”

Messages left with Nelson, Johnston and Berdine were not returned.

Other races

In North Stonington, there are a quantity of races for other places of work in town, although most remain uncontested this calendar year.

In the contested races, Democratic incumbent Mustapha Ratib will square off towards Republican Shawn Murphy for city treasurer and Democrat Anthony Mazzella and Republicans Wayne M. Wilkinson and Priscilla Lewis are every seeking a person of the two open up seats on the Scheduling and Zoning Fee.

As a outcome of the uncontested races, Republican Lisa Mazzella will serve on the Board of Assessment Appeals Republican Emily Lewis will provide as alternate to the Financial Growth Commission Republicans Robert Mazzella and Robert Kappes will be elected as alternates to the Planning and Zoning Fee Mark S. Perkins Jr. will provide on the Zoning Board of Appeals and Republicans Amy Mate, Daniel Smith and William Mason will each individual serve as alternates to the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Democrat Christopher J. Friday and Republicans Salvatore E. Cherenzia IV and Stefan Grufstedt will compete on the ballot for seats on the Financial Advancement Fee, but all 3 will also provide.