Patty McCormick 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.
These remarks were prepared for the beginning and end of the candidate's forum at Darien Library on Thursday, Oct. 18. 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: Katie Stein (D), Elizabeth Hagerty-Ross (R), Sarah Schneider-Zuro (R).
Patty McCormick's opening and closing statements:
My name is Patty McCormick and it is my honor to be considered for a seat on the Board of Education.
- My passion for education was reignited when we enrolled our daughter in the Community Cooperative Nursery School in Rowayton. 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.
When my children entered Ox Ridge, I became active in the PTO. Last year as Co-Director of the YWCA Parent Awareness Network, I participated in dialogue with educational leaders. I also developed strong relationships with the school administration. As a representative to the Council of Darien School Parents, I was immersed in the workings of our Schools, and wanted a larger role in shaping them.
I believe that our district faces some key challenges:
- First is the cost of special education. We have a moral and legal obligation to educate every child, but we must examine how we use our limited resources most effectively. The state reimburses the town less each year for special education costs. It has fallen to the BOE and BOF to find ways to pick up the remaining costs. It is crucial for the Board to work with the administration and other elements of town government to create a long-term, solution to this issue.
- Secondly, it is projected that our school population will continue to grow and this growth will challenge us to deliver the high-quality education families expect. Our town has a great reputation:. Low taxes, great beaches and our outstanding schools create a desirable community where families want to raise their children. With the doubling in size of The Heights project and the development of the Procaccini property the impact on our schools could be tremendous.
- Finally, I believe we must develop and support our teachers’ professional development through workshops, classes and their own professional learning communities. We’ve invested in the latest technology, but we need to invest more in our educators.
Thank you to the League of Women Voters, CDSP and the Darien Library for hosting this discussion.
Clearly there are many issues facing our community and our schools. Our town has a unique opportunity to be real leaders in education. The decisions we make now will set the tone for how successful our schools and our children will be.
I ask for your vote tonight because I am an out-of-the-box thinker, with a much-needed fresh perspective. I will bring that creative thinking to our schools and our children every day that I am on the board because I have the passion for education. My husband calls me an education geek – and anyone who knows me knows that it is true. I live this stuff every day. 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.
I will bring to this job the relationships that I possess with teachers and administrators throughout our schools, as well as the ones I have with leaders in town government and in our non-profit organizations. These relationships will enable me to activate our entire community to support our children.
I will bring this passion, and knowledge and curiosity to our Board of Education, and it will be my mission to inspire us all – parents, teachers, administrators and elected officials – to do the best possible job of creating the environment where our kids will be empowered to reach their full potential.
Editor's note: This article originally was posted at 10:11 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).