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An ‘in their words’ NoN Voter Guide – BoE candidates

The 2021 Election is Nov. 2.

NORWALK, Conn. — NancyOnNorwalk has compiled candidate profiles by summarizing the bios provided on their websites.

Here you will read about Board of Education candidates, the information they’d like you to know:

 

Kara Nelson Baekey, Democrat

  • 20-year Norwalk resident.
  • Senior advertising executive, driving innovation and growth for a global digital production services company in the healthcare space.
  • Kara Nelson Baekey. (Aviva Maller Photography)

    Co-vice-president of newly-formed Norwalk P-TECH PTSO, where her youngest child is a student.

  • Co-founder and leader of the Connecticut Chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, founded in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings.
  • Received a Darien/Norwalk YWCA Woman of Distinction award in 2017 for her work on the issue of gun violence in our community.
  • Attended Tulane University.  Holds a  bachelor’s in broadcast journalism from the Walter Cronkite School at Arizona State University.
  • Is passionate about equity, opportunity and safety for all children.

Platform:

  • Safety on campuses, including the formation of a Safety Committee on the BOE
  • Prioritization of social-emotional learning and mental health for all children
  • Equitable academic opportunities for all children
  • Open collaboration with parents and families
  • Transparency in funding of our school system
  • Creation of a community elementary school in South Norwalk

Colin Hosten, Democrat

  • 15-year Norwalk resident.
  • Norwalk Board of Education chair.
  • Teaches writing at Fairfield University.
  • Colin Hosten. (Courtesy photo)

    Married.  Son of career teachers.

  • Holds master’s from both New York University and Fairfield University.  Graduated from Morehouse College.

Platform:

Appreciates the importance of a strong public education system.  Is committed to the success of every single Norwalk student, and intends to continue helping Norwalk schools achieve their full potential.  Is proud to dedicate himself to public service in our vibrant and diverse community.

 

 

Sheri McCready Brown, Democrat

  • Lifelong Norwalk resident.
  • Board of Estimate and Taxation commissioner.
  • Sheri McCready Brown. (Courtesy photo)

    Norwalk Housing Authority board member.

  • Keystone House board Member.
  • Norwalk Housing Authority administrative specialist 2010-2014, serving with an outstanding and productive team.
  • Norwalk Public Schools, former district public affairs officer for nine years.
  • Brien McMahon graduate.  Her daughter attended Norwalk schools.
  • William Raveis real estate agent.
  • Holds a master’s in public administration from Post University and a bachelor’s in communications from Long Island University.
  • Her father Harold McCready,was active on the library board, served on the fire commission, and served two terms on the Common Council under the leadership of Mayor Esposito.

Platform:

Steadfast public education supporter. Fervent believer in providing the necessary tools to help cultivate our students into lifelong learners who are industrious, thoughtful, multi-faceted and productive stewards in a transformative world.

Will strive to nurture existing resources while providing valuable tools for our children and staff, and to provide a solid foundation of training to ensure the success of our teachers.

Believes that “the auspicious fact is that although we are greatly resilient–our reality has been challenged by a pandemic–concurrent with infrastructure, environmental, social, political and technological changes. It is, therefore, a priority for the Board of Education and its local partners to continue to foster a cohesive and supportive relationship that will unfurl a lively and robust montage of healthy, effective ideas. As we face an ever-evolving cultural landscape, it is mandatory that our students are prepared to compete in the global economy.”

 

Janine W. Randolph, Democrat

  • PTA member for seven years.
  • Naramake Elementary School PTA co-president and fundraising co-chair.
  • Janine W. Randolph. (Courtesy photo)

    NHMS PTA secretary and president.

  • Mother of two girls in Norwalk Public Schools.
  • Travel coordinator and healthcare billing specialist.  Worked in the hospitality industry for several years.
  • Holds a bachelor’s in communications from Cornell University.  Attended Johnson & Wales University.

Platform:

Understands the diverse needs of our students and their communities and is dedicated to working towards an equitable education system for all. Understands the importance of supporting our local educational system.

 

 

Katherine (Price) Snedaker, Independents for Norwalk 

  • Moved to South Norwalk in 1993.
  • Raised between two households in Wilton and Norwalk.  Attended Greens Farms Academy, after Wilton’s public schools failed to have the necessary services to address her dyslexia.  Learned firsthand the skillsets needed to help  compensate for her learning disabilities.
  • Katherine “Price” Snedaker. (Courtesy photo)

    International keynote speaker, brain injury professional, and researcher.

  • Has presented on brain injury gender differences  at conferences hosted by US Department of Veterans Affairs, Boston Children’s Hospital, Ohio State University, and the International Brain Injury Association.
  • 30 years of volunteering and school advocacy.
  • Norwalk Family & Children’s Agency social worker.
  • NYC Vietnam Veteran’s Vet Center former volunteer.
  • Founder/CEO of PINK Concussions, a 501c3, a nonprofit focused on female brain injuries from sports, domestic violence, assault, accidents or military service.
  • Holds a master’s from Fordham University School of Social Service, and a bachelor’s in journalism from  University of Kansas.
  • Mother of three sons, all of whom attended Rowayton Elementary, Roton Middle and Brien McMahon High.  Was PTA member at all three schools.
  • Was the first school webmaster at Rowayton and Roton.
  • Volunteered daily to support teachers by performing such tasks as making  copies, revitalizing the teachers’ lunch rooms,and helping with special events and field trips.
  • Member of Rowayton and Roton Teacher Appreciation Committees.
  • Began “Science on a Cart” with several other parents, bringing monthly simple science projects into classrooms.
  • Revamped the “Learning to Look” art program from VCR tapes and information binders to a sleeker online version accessible to program volunteers.
  • Her father, Ralph Sloan, was one of Norwalk’s longest serving school superintendents (1983 until retiring in 1998.); giving her a firsthand view of his role in continuously pressing Hartford  for equitable state funding for Norwalk’s most vulnerable students.

Platform:

If elected, what are your top three priorities?

My first priority is to work with the BOE and our superintendent to ensure ALL NPS students receive equitable educational experience and each can achieve their goals post-high school. My second priority is to elevate the importance of addressing the impending school funding crisis sooner than later as the state’s contribution does not meet the needs of our growing city. And lastly, I would like to work to improve BOE communication to build more trust with students, NPS staff, parents and voters.

What guidance would you as a policymaker give to the superintendent on use of the federal funding received as a result of the covid relief package?

My guidance would be to use the federal funding to help address the learning gap from missed classroom instruction during the pandemic. While this is necessary for all students, it is important to focus on our most vulnerable students, and to focus on the basic building blocks needed for each student to advance to the next grade. I would ask for the superintendent’s suggestions based on data/research on who could benefit from summer school, before/after school programs or smaller class sizes.

How would you make schools more welcoming to immigrant and non-English speaking families? What ideas do you have to increase their involvement in the educational process?

Before presenting any ideas, I would want input from recent immigrant and non-English speaking families on their experience coming to the NPS and learn about the barriers they experienced. First, I would ask representatives from the community to see how best to gather data from these families. Based on input from an online survey, in-person meetings in the community, or maybe, one-on-one interviews, I would hope to learn about the existing barriers as well as what is working to welcome families.

 

Shirley M. Mosby, Independents for Norwalk

  • Lifelong Norwalk resident.
  • Served on the BOE for six years with one purpose: to ensure our school system offers a strong, quality education to every single student.
  • Shirley Mosby. (Courtesy photo)

    Curriculum and Policy Committees member.

  • Adult education liaison.
  • Curriculum committee chair.
  • Negotiations committee member.
  • Parent advisory committee member.
  • Holds a bachelor’s from Albertus Magnus, an associates in Business from Sacred Heart University, and certifications as a paralegal and human resource manager.
  • Extensive human resources, legal compliance, and finance (tax) background.
  • Presently with Corporate Tax, XL Global Services.
  • Parent Leadership Training Institute Alumni Association past co-president.
  • CT Partners in Policymaking graduate.
  • State-certified  Parent Advocate.
  • Parent Leadership Training Institute graduate.
  • Parents Supporting Excellence in Education former first vice-president.
  • Former Norwalk NAACP first vice-president and education chair.
  • Norwalk High School Parent Outreach Organization chair.
  • Norwalk High School principal search committee member.
  • Junior achievement instructor.
  • Kids Start Smart school to career mentor.
  • Cranbury PTO former secretary.
  • Norwalk High School building advisory committee former member.
  • Her son graduated from Norwalk High and Quinnipiac College.  Her nephew is a Norwalk High graduate.

Platform:

As a veteran Democratic former Board of Education member, Shirley welcomes this opportunity to re-establish the Independent Party, reinvigorating the line, the party, and its local platform, with candidates from all political backgrounds, as well as, embracing her belief and passion in advocating for inclusiveness for all stakeholders (children, parents, community, public, and taxpayers).   She believes we need everyone’s input from all to achieve our goals, which is to ensure that all children receive a quality education.

 

 

Alexandrea Kemeny, Independents for Norwalk

  • Lifelong Norwalk resident who attended Norwalk Public Schools.
  • Norwalk Public School teacher for 31 years, now retired.
  • Alexandrea Kemeny. (Courtesy photo)

    Holds a master’s in education and a bachelor’s in music from Western Connecticut State University.

  • Crystal Theater co-founder.
  • Daughter is a Brien McMahon graduate.

Platform:

I see the need for more balance of academics with social and emotional wellness in the classroom. Many students feel anxiety and stress in the classroom, which impedes their academic performance. There has been much research done on the developmental readiness of children to learn concepts in the classroom, but many students are pushed along through the curriculum.  Why?  Because teachers are often pressured to get through the units of study before some students have fully grasped the concepts. Then, these students fall behind and the problem snowballs. This puts stress and frustration on students, leading them to lose the joy of school and learning. We need to reach the individual student at their developmental level to meet their needs.

We need better accountability on spending. I’ve seen such incredible waste of taxpayer money. For example, every few years, the school system changes the curricula and buys all new books, throwing out the old, but practically new books in dumpsters. Why can’t they find a program that works and stick with it? I’ve seen dumpsters filled with desks and chairs that some of our more needy students would have welcomed into their house. There needs to be better accountability for this wastefulness.

One way to avoid waste and figure out how to meet the needs of our student population is through better communication – with students, with parents, AND classroom teachers. Like soldiers in the trenches, teachers know what is necessary to get the job done, because they’re in the thick of it. A superintendent may lead a school system, but like a good general, he/she needs to listen to the troops. Teachers want their students to be successful because they care about them on an individual basis. We need to listen and communicate more with teachers to find out the needs of their students so that as a district we make ALL of our students successful- be it vocational, technical, military or college.

 

 

Jody Sattler, Independents for Norwalk

  • Norwalk resident since 2001
  • Fifteen year public school advocate who helped develop robust before-school  and after-school enrichment programs at Rowayton and Roton Elementary.
  • Jody Sattler. (Courtesy photo)

    Has extensive girls athletic experience. Grew Llittle League softball player numbers by 100%.

  • Worked to get approval for the new Brien McMahon turf field.
  • Former IBM client representative/global sales operations manager.  Met different constituents’ needs while improving efficiencies and balancing  budget allocations.
  • Holds a BS in education from University of Nebraska, and a master gardener degree from University of Connecticut.
  • Married for 19 years, with three children who will all attend Brien McMahon High School in the fall.
  • Rowayton Civic Association board member 2003-2006, President: 2006-2007.
  • Rowayton Gardeners:  2002-2004.
  • 136 Stop Truck Ban:  Stopped through truck traffic on Highway 136, 2007.
  • United Church Nursery School art show2007-2008.
  • United Church Nursery School executive board 2008-2010.
  • United Church Nursery School enrichment chair 2010- 2012.
  • United Church Nursery School substitute teacher 2021.
  • Lobbied for New Stop Sign at McKinley and Highland Ave: 2015.
  • Rowayton School PTA treasurer 2011-2013.
  • Rowayton School PTA  president 2013-2015.
  • Rowayton Little League  vice-president, softball 2012-2019.
  • Rowayton Academy: Before School Enrichment Director: 2013-2020.
  • Roton Middle School PTA fundraising 2015-2017.
  • Norwalk Public Schools academically talented redesign committee 2017.
  • Norwalk Public Schools guidance redesign 2018.
  • United Church of Rowayton sunday school teacher 2010-2017.
  • United Church of Rowayton deacon 2017-2020.
  • Roton Middle School governance council member 2015-2016.
  • Roton Middle School governance council co-chair 2016-2019.
  • Roton Middle School governance council after school coordinator 2018.
  • Brien McMahon High School PTA secretary 2018-2019.
  • Brien McMahon High School governance council member 2019-2021.
  • Brien McMahon High School governance council co-chair 2020-2021.

Platform:

Espouses a back-to-basics  public education approach where priorities are determined based on the needs of all students in the school district. States that in a rich and diverse community like Norwalk, a “one size fits all” approach cannot successfully and efficiently benefit the varied student body.

Basic blueprint to a successful school district includes the following principles:

  • All students deserve a good public education for future success.
  • Kids who physically spend time in school, do better academically.  This should encourage more investment in extra-curricular activities
  • Rigor in the classroom is key to success.
  • Politics do not belong in education.
  • Create a better middle school strategy for high school readiness.

 

 

There are no Republican Board of Education candidates this year. All the BoE seats this year are “at large,” meaning the victors will represent the entire city, not a specific district.

Updated, 12:18 p.m.: Information added.

4 comments

John O'Neill October 27, 2021 at 9:30 am

It’s pretty simple to me: If you believe the current Board and the Dem Cabal is actually helping our kids get a great education keep voting for Dems. If you’re not okay with kids failing and graduates needing remedial help at the next level I recommend you truly may want to look at alternatives. The Independents above are a stark contrast to the failed policies of the past few years.
There will be incredibly tough decisions to make as the free DC money runs out. I don’t think current Board has the backbone to handle it. For goodness sakes, why would they bloat Central Office and short change schools on Math/Science Teachers? Why are they NOT teaching our kids the basics? Where are the ELL dollars? Duff and Co throw crumbs our way when we actually need a loaf of bread…And suckers keep voting them in. Why?

While I’m thinking about it, Taxpayers should hire Tom Hamilton (Now that he has some free time) to explain to us in plain English (Do they still teach plain English by the way?) where the money really goes..In my opinion

piberman October 27, 2021 at 11:45 am

Any candidate publicly concerned according to CT Dept of Education data most Norwalk public school grads do not meet CT Edu Dept standards on math and the sciences ? Or ever secure a 4 yr college degree ? Yet our Supt in paid $300k+ – tops in CT.

Some of us remember when our City had public schools with strong reputations attracting many new homeowners .If BOE members don’t demand much better student achievements where will better achievements come from ?

Reportedly we pay commensurate salaries with our surrounding towns with their pre-eminent public school systems. But we’re not securing comparable achievement. Is it really the case that we’re doing the best we can ? Or is our BOE focused on other matters than student achievements ? It’s the kind of question we expected to hear ahead of elections.

CT-Patriot October 28, 2021 at 3:30 pm

Anyone on this current or future BOE, Superintendent who support CRT as a curriculum in the city of Norwalk should find work elsewhere.

I can assure you, I will choose those who stand for parent involvement and improvement in basic skills.

Those who support CRT or AG Merrick Garland shall be denied a vote and if sitting, WILL be voted out.

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