Owner & Editor
Michael is a journalist of 13 years’ experience, including eight focused entirely on the digital space, a proud member of the Kiwanis Club of New Canaan and a member of the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
Immediately prior to launching NewCanaanite.com on Jan. 31, 2014, Michael oversaw Patch news sites in Westchester and Fairfield Counties, as many as 48 at one point (including New Canaan). He served as the senior editorial manager for New Canaan for his entire four years with the company. There, he developed Patch’s user engagement strategy and led the editorial team that covered the Newtown school shooting, earning the company’s Mission & Values Award.
Michael grew up in New Canaan, attending Center School until they tore it down after he finished second grade with Mrs. Fischer, then East, Saxe and New Canaan High School, graduating in 1993.
He attended the University of Pennsylvania and University of Oxford, studying philosophy at both and graduating in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree. With that in hand and with his mom’s blessing (“I want my children to do whatever they want, as long as they’re happy”), he became a slow, overly talkative bartender.
While working in a bar in San Francisco in the summer of 1999, he met his would-be wife, Marie, following her to Austria and Ireland at summer’s end while she earned a university degree in her native Dublin. Together they returned to Fairfield County and married just as he launched his journalism career as a stringer for The Advocate. In 2004, a wretched year for baseball, Michael was hired as a staff writer at Greenwich Time newspaper, covering health, housing, social services and the waterfront.
Between the paper and Patch, he worked for two years at a Norwalk-based online B2B covering IP communications technology.
Michael and Marie live in Stamford with their dogs (pictured at the very bottom of this page).
Here are four things Michael loves to do outside of work:
1. walk the dogs at the Mianus River Park;
2. watch niece Gillian pitch in her softball leagues;
3. play Nintendo with nephew Cooper;
4. sit at his brother’s dinner table when sister-in-law Andrea is cooking.
Michael and his wife the same month that NewCanaanite.com launched adopted their fourth dog, Marvin (rottie-shepherd mix) from a high-kill shelter in Alabama, and added a fifth, Dexter (golden retriever), who was surrendered because his owner developed an allergy to the puppy’s hair.
Mom, if you’re reading this: I’m happy. (Thank you.)
Darcy Pennoyer Smith
One of many in the multi-generational Pennoyer family from New Canaan, Darcy Stiles Pennoyer grew up down the street from the Dinans, and she is an alum of Center School, Saxe and NCHS. Currently a New Canaan resident and now Darcy Pennoyer Smith, she is a freelance writer and blogger. She volunteers with various organizations such as the West School PTC, Junior League of Stamford-Norwalk, and New Canaan Cares. Her sons attend New Canaan Public Schools, and her husband Jud is a managing partner of Smith Hanley Associates LLC. The Smiths recently rescued two kittens, and the litter mates are settling quite nicely into their new home.
Darcy attended Ohio Wesleyan University and studied French, English, and politics & government before working as a journalist’s assistant at the United Nations, an assistant in a law firm, a marketing associate at a healthcare company, and an independent floral designer (she’s done flowers for over 100 events). Her longest stint with an employer other than herself was with New Canaan High School, where she worked first as a chemistry lab aide to see if she liked working with teenagers all day (the answer was yes), an intern in the English and world language departments, and then as a certified English and French teacher. Darcy earned a Master of Science in education from the University of Bridgeport in 2000, and she resigned from NCHS in 2014 in order to have more flexibility to care for her family. She still likes working with teenagers, so she tutors students in reading, writing, and the college essay.
Darcy loves New Canaan, and some of her favorite spots are the NC Nature Center, Waveny, Elm Street Books, Cherry Street East, and Gates. She enjoys all the Next Station to Heaven has to offer although the parking in town is a bit out of control, and she does like a stable post office.
Jes has lived in New Canaan since 1995, attending South and Saxe before graduating from New Canaan High School in 2009. Following that, he attended the University of New Hampshire in Durham, N.H. During his time there, Jes volunteered in the athletics department with both the Women’s basketball program as their manager, and Media Relations where he helped out at several different UNH athletic teams’ events. He graduated summa cum laude in 2013 with a B.S. in Kinesiology: Sport Studies. An avid baseball fan, specifically of the Mets. he enjoys going to Dunning Field to watch Rams football games, and his favorite restaurant in New Canaan is Cherrystreet East.
The Dinan brothers, and younger sister Rachel, are the children of Tim and Shelley Dinan, both formerly of New Canaan. Shelley started working for the New Canaan Public Schools in 1969 as a speech and language pathologist and in Special Education, retiring from the job in 2004. Tim worked as a mechanic at Dinan Auto Repair in Norwalk.