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Three Win Seats on Darien Board of Education

Elizabeth "Betsy" Hagerty-Ross, the board chairperson, Sarah Schneider-Zuro and Katie Stein all won seats on the Darien Board of Education.

Update 10:55 p.m.:

Here are the preliminary election results from Darien's six voting districts (absentee votes, which were substantial, are not included here, and the official results are often somewhat different numbers):

Elizabeth "Betsy" Hagerty-Ross (R): 5,581

Sarah Schneider-Zuro (R): 4,861

Katie Stein (D): 3,960

Patty McCormick (D): 2,832

Update 9:42 p.m.:

GOP candidates Elizabeth Hagerty-Ross, chairperson of the Board of Education, and Sarah Schneider-Zuro, who also won election to the board on Tuesday, had been up greeting voters at the Ox Ridge School polling place at 6:15 a.m., then campaigned for the rest of the day.

It was exhausting, Hagerty-Ross said in a brief interview after she and Schneider-Zuro heard that they'd won their seats on the board for a new term.

"I'm thrilled to be on the board and serving again," Hagerty-Ross said. "I think we built a lot of momentum and steam and I look forward to continuing with what we've started."

Among other ongoing projects and programs, the Darien Public Schools administration is expected to move into the former Darien Library building on Leroy Avenue this winter, and the new World Languages Program has just been started in the elementary schools.

"It's a privilege to serve on the board," Schneider-Zuro said. "I'm so grateful to the town for all their support." She had been appointed to fill the remaining months of Amy Bell's term, when Bell resigned in order to devote time to the Darien Community Association, of which she was named director.

"Education has been my whole life," Schneider-Zuro said. She said she enjoyed serving on the board for several months. "I'm so glad that I get to stay."

Update 9:29 p.m.:

As the last of the voting-return numbers went up on the wall at Darien Republican election headquarters Tuesday evening, First Selectman Jayme Stevenson turned to the two GOP candidates for Board of Education.

"Good news, girlfriends! Woo-hoo!" the first selectman exclaimed and promptly high-fived board Chairperson Elizabeth "Betsy" Hagerty-Ross and Sarah Scheider-Zuro.

The two Republicans got the most votes among the four candidates for three seats on the board. Democrat Katie Stein took the third available seat.

Original article:

One of the candidates you don't vote for is sure to win a seat on Tuesday's election for the Darien Board of Education.

That's because you get two votes, but the three top vote winners each win a seat on the Board. Democrats this year nominated two candidates to run, just as the Republicans did.

On the Republican side, incumbents Sarah Schneider-Zuro and board Chair Elizabeth A. Hagerty-Ross are running. Democrats Katie Stein and Patty McCormick have been nominated by the Democrats.

Each of the four candidates debated on Oct. 18. Here are the remarks each made in opening and closing statements: , Hagerty-Ross, Stein and McCormick).

The Darien Times has endorsed Hagerty Ross, Schneider-Zuro and Stein.

Sarah Schneider-Zuro

At the Oct. 18 debate, Schneider-Zuro spoke about her background as a professional educator:

I’d like to tell you about myself and why I am running for the Board.  I’ve spent my entire adult life pursuing excellence in education.  Longer than I’ve been a mother, longer than I’ve been a wife, I’ve been an educator.  After I graduated from Oberlin, I went Teachers College, Columbia University for my first masters degree in education and then off into the teaching world I went - to Bedford Village Elementary School.

In my desire to learn more about how children learn, I returned to Columbia University for a second master’s degree and doctoral work in education - which led me to a career as an administrator in the Ossining School District.  Curriculum development, budget, teacher evaluation, professional development, summer school, and even working effectively with a school board became the focus of my life for a number of years until our second child was born.

Schneider-Zuro has been profiled in the Darien News and Darien Times

Elizabeth "Betsy" Hagerty-Ross

Hagerty-Ross graduated with a bachelor's degree and a master of business administration degree in accounting from St. John’s University. Then her corporate career "spanned almost 20-years in accounting, financial control and banking with the New York Mets and Citibank," she said at the Oct. 18 debate.

She was a longtime volunteer in various positions with parent groups in Darien schools, then was appointed to the Board of Education in 2006. She became vice chairperson of the board in 2009 and then chairperson. Hagerty-Ross was profiled recently in the Darien News and the Darien Times.

Katie Stein

"I have been a part of the Tokeneke PTO for six years now taking progressively more substantive roles.  The last three years I have been on the Executive Committee as vice chair and co-chair respectively," Stein said at the Oct. 18 debate. "As a non-profit lawyer representing battered women and their children in Family Court, I learned how to be a good negotiator and have developed the skills to work with people on both sides of an issue."

Stein also said: "As a PTO Co-Chair, I have learned precisely how important communication is between our parents, teachers and administrators.  As a Board member of the Darien YMCA and Sanctuary for Families, a non-profit in NYC, I have learned how to manage available resources and to work collaboratively with my fellow board members."

Stein has been profiled in the Darien Times and Darien News.

Patty McCormick

"My passion for education was reignited when we enrolled our daughter in the Community Cooperative Nursery School in Rowayton," McCormick said at the Oct. 18 debate. "The preschool’s Bank Street influenced curriculum was inspiring.  When my son attended CCNS, I was Board President. I worked alongside award-winning teachers and became a champion for the school’s play-based, emergent curriculum."

McCormick also said: "I am passionate about seeking the best solutions to empower our children to reach their potential.  I don’t think that a good education is merely passing a set of prescribed standards.  A good education will instill curiosity and inquisitiveness in our kids.  It will make them independent and critical thinkers, as well as creative problem solvers.  Our schools must send them into the world with a life-long thirst for knowledge."

McCormick has been profiled in the Darien Times and Darien News.

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