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Elizabeth Hagerty-Ross' Ed Board Debate Opening, Closing Statements

These are the prepared opening and closing remarks made by GOP candidate and Board of Education Chairperson Elizabeth Hagerty-Ross at the Thursday, Oct. 19 candidates' forum at Darien Library.

These remarks were prepared by candidate Elizabeth "Betsy" Hagerty-Ross for the beginning and end of the candidate's forum at Darien Library on Thursday, Oct. 18.

Hagerty-Ross is one of two Republicans (along with two Democrats) running for three seats on the Darien Board of Education in the Nov. 6, 2012 election.

Voters may vote for two candidates; three of the four will be elected.

The remarks here are as they were sent in the attached document to Darien Patch after the debate. The remarks as delivered, which may be heard on a TV79 recording of the debate, may differ.

Here are links to the opening and closing remarks sent by other candidates: Patty McCormick (D), Katie Stein (D) and Sarah Schneider-Zuro (R).

Elizabeth Hagerty Ross' opening and closing statements:

Opening Statement

Good Evening, my name is Elizabeth Hagerty-Ross. 

I would like to thank the Darien League of Women Voters and the Council of Darien School Parents for organizing the Board of Education Candidates forum. 

My husband, Martin, and I are 19-year Darien residents. 

One factor in our move to Darien was its reputation for outstanding public schools.

Our two sons attend Darien schools, an 11th grader at DHS and a 7th grader at Middlesex MS.

I have a bachelor of science and an MBA with a concentration in Accounting from St. John’s University.

My corporate career spanned almost 20-years in accounting, financial control and banking with the New York Mets and Citibank.

For the past 12 years, I have been a Darien School volunteer.

Starting as a Rock n Royle hall monitor, Room Mom, Book Fair chair and Middlesex magazine money counter.

I served as assistant treasurer on the Royle Executive board and then as treasurer. 

I was a 2-term CDSP budget rep and then CDSP Budget Chairperson.

I am an MMS and DHS PTO member and a DHS Swim and Golf team parent.

 I volunteer with many Darien youth sports and with the YMCA.

In my spare time, I am a board member on 2 summer swim leagues and our summer club junior golf chair and swim chair.

I was appointed to the Board of Education in 2006. 

In 2009, I was selected as Vice Chair and am the current Darien Board of Education Chairman.

My board positions include: Policy, Budget, Negotiation Committees, 35 Leroy Mather Community Center Liaison

Through my volunteer positions, I built a strong network and developed bi partisan working relationships with RTM members, Board of Finance, Board of Selectman, the school administration and the town employees. 

A common theme runs through many of my volunteer positions.  They involve our children and my financial education and experience.

Combining the collaborative relationships I built, my financial education and corporate experience, I have the unique skill set necessary to balance fiscal responsibility to the town and to support an intellectually challenging educational environment for our children. 

Reflecting on my Board of Education candidacy, I realized one reason I moved to Darien was for the schools.

My corporate experience and financial education now allows me to give back to the town, to our children and to enhance Darien’s reputation for outstanding public schools.

Closing Statement

I would like to reiterate my thanks to the League and the CDSP for organizing the BOE candidates’ forum, with special thanks to our moderator, Charlotte Garrell. 

In November 2011, I stepped into the role as Darien Board of Education Chairman.

This was a seamless transition mainly due to my financial background, board and budget experience – I had a minimal learning curve.  

The chair position, as do all board of education positions, requires an extremely diverse, balanced and collaborative skill set.

My corporate experience enabled me to meet this requirement.

I participated and contributed to the teacher and administrator contract negotiations.

I am able to effectively interview for all levels of the administrative staff from the superintendent, to school principals, to the facility manager. 

As the 35 Leroy-Mather Community Center liaison, I am the defacto project manager for the BOE requirements for the administration’s new offices from reviewing drawings thru site surveys and the transition to the new facility.

These are examples of the breadth of experience required for a board position.

Under my leadership and advocacy, the 2012-2013 board of education budget successfully navigated through the Darien town budget process. 

With support from the administration and other board members, as chair, I presented and defended our budget not only to the Board of Finance but also to the RTM under threat of a floor cut.

The RTM approved the budget, as presented.

As this is a contested Board of Education Election, voters have the opportunity to vote for only two of the four candidates.

In today’s economic environment, as candidates for the board we need to understand and balance our fiscal responsibility to the town with our administration’s goals and objectives for the education of our children.  

My fiscal responsibility to the town is evident.

Under my leadership, the 2011-2012 year closed with the  budget positively balanced for the first time in 3 years. 

My record of accomplishments and proven dedication to the town, make me the best candidate for the board of education.

Balancing my fiscal background, Sarah Schneider Zuro’s appointment to the board brought a solid educational background and Darien budget knowledge.

On November 6th, please vote Elizabeth Hagerty-Ross and Sarah Schneider-Zuro to ensure a balance of fiscal responsibility for the town and outstanding public schools for our children.

Editor's note: This article originally was posted at 11:21 a.m., Friday, Oct. 19. The time stamp has been changed for layout purposes on the Home page of Darien Patch (to make each candidate's statement appear in the order it was sent in).

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