NORWALK, Conn. – It appears, as the new year comes in, that members of the Norwalk Board of Education are getting along better.
Recent meetings, since Norwalk Superintendent of Schools Manny Rivera resigned, have been more cordial. Members appear to recognize that, even if they disagree, they are in the same boat, working to make Norwalk schools better.
BoE Chairman Mike Lyons confirmed this impression. It wasn’t organized, as in a retreat to air out differences, but “facilitated by our ability to hold all discussions on the interim superintendent and search firm selections in confidential sessions,” he said.
“I’m doing things the way I always have … and have made sure everyone is included. Maybe people just got tired enough of the fighting to calm down and try to respond to facts rather than to perceptions. There remain deep philosophical divides on the Board, so I wouldn’t count on spontaneous outbreaks of Kumbayah singing,” Lyons said.
Lyons mentioned a recent comment left of NancyOnNorwalk by former Board member Steve Colarossi, which referred to the charge of harassment and racial discrimination levied by Shirley Mosby.
“The level of vitriol directed at Ms. Rivas, Ms. Mosby and Ms. Murray does suggest, at a minimum, a deep division – although the division may be between traditional liberal and conservative elements (and not race), the fact remains that there is a deep divide,” Colarossi wrote. “… Having had the honor of working closely with Ms. Rivas and Mrs. Murray, I do not doubt for a moment that they are motivated by their profound faith in the sanctity of all children and that they are both doing all they can to assure equal educational access for all in Norwalk.”
Lyons said the philosophical differences are likely to continue, so “there will still be plenty of arguments. But maybe they can be a bit more civil.”
“I would hope that the new year brings a new mood,” Artie Kassimis said. “I would think that the seriousness of Dr. Rivera leaving may have changed a couple of attitudes, and even in the community, so people can see that we do have a serious job ahead of us for the sake of Norwalk schools. We all have to have our heads in the game and do the right thing, and come out as a unified body.”
Kassimiss wished everybody “the best for the new year.”