These remarks were prepared by candidate Katie Stien for the beginning and end of the candidate's forum at Darien Library on Thursday, Oct. 18.
Stein is one of two Democrats (along with two Republicans) 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), Elizabeth Hagerty-Ross (R), Sarah Schneider-Zuro (R).
Katie Stein's opening and closing statements:
Good evening. Thank you to the League of Women’s Voters and to the CDSP for hosting this informative discussion. For those of you who don’t know me, I am Katie Stein and I am excited to be running for the Board of Education. As a parent of 3 young children who attend the Darien Public Schools, like you, education is certainly a priority for me. We have lived in Darien for over ten years and I have volunteered in many capacities locally.
Through my volunteer work as a PTO Co-Chair and my contributions in the classroom I have become passionate about the quality of education our children receive. I have been a part of the Tokeneke PTO for 6 years now taking progressively more substantive roles. The last 3 years I have been on the Executive Committee as Vice Chair and Co-Chair respectively. I have attended Board of Education meetings for three years now and have participated in the budget season helping the CDSP put together the public presentations for the elementary schools. I believe my participation has prepared me to make a meaningful contribution as a member of the Board.
Being an effective Board member requires collaboration and creative thinking to ensure our resources are invested in our classrooms and that our tax dollars are used effectively and efficiently. One of the most important skill sets I possess is my ability to listen, consider all information presented and develop an action plan. 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. 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.
I look forward to hearing your questions tonight and providing you with a clear understanding of my perspective.
As we all know, the BoE plays a critical role in determining the policy that will improve the education of all our children. I recognize we are fortunate to live in a community where education is paramount, but each year we face tough decisions on how to allocate our resources. Each year we face decision like which programs will be funded or cut, do we propose new initiatives or not and should we fund bricks and mortar or books?
If elected, as a member of the Darien Board of Education I will ask in depth questions about policy and programs so that we, as a community, understand the value they will bring to the classroom. I will encourage the proposal of new initiatives to improve the education of our children. I will listen to and reflect the concerns of our community and work collaboratively with fellow Board members to improve our schools.
Although budget season gets tougher each year, I believe together we can find creative solutions to address those challenges while maintaining the superior quality of education we have come to expect. With a new Special Education Director and many new administrators in our schools I am hopeful that with fresh eyes and new perspectives the next few years will produce some cost-effective innovations and new initiatives. In our community we value a top-notch education and we are able to provide that education; however, I am committed to continued improvements and to taking our educational system to an even higher level. It would be an honor to serve on the Board of Education.
I ask you for your vote on November 6th. Thank you for the time you have given me this evening.