Dionna Carlson

Recent Articles

Board of Ed Voices Support for Proposed Emergency Communications Antenna at West School

Board of Education members on Monday night voiced support for a proposal from the New Canaan Police Department to install an approximately 10-foot radio communications antenna on a 5-foot “monopole” atop the roof of the West School gymnasium. Assured that the pole poses no health hazards—in fact, there are two existing, similar set-ups already at West School, used by the bus company and district itself, according to Police Capt. John DiFederico—Board of Ed members stopped short of a formal vote. The new one would serve public safety needs, he said. School board member Sheri West said: “It seems very straightforward to me that we would be supporting” the installation. DiFederico described the proposed antenna as an initial step toward improving portable radio communications for police, fire and public works officials as well as EMTs and members of the Community Emergency Response Team or ‘CERT.’

“The problem is that portable radios in the western side of town have a real difficult time reaching our base so that is what a receive-only antenna does—it captures the radio signals in the air and sends them back to the police department or the fire house or the public works facilities,” DiFederico said at the meeting, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School. Continue Reading →

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New Canaan High School Class of 2017 Graduates

In 1989, Jennifer Lee spoke at her high school graduation. It is a speech that she now admits revealed very little about what it meant to be her because that was something, at the time, she was still figuring out. On Tuesday evening, 28 years later, Lee took to the podium once again to address the 334-member New Canaan High School class of 2017 as its keynote speaker—getting a second chance to deliver something more personal. Yet after learning that she would address the students, Lee felt denial, anxiety and fear being chief among them. To aid her in finding a theme for her speech, the mathematics teacher and 22-year veteran of the New Canaan Public Schools conducted a survey with her students, asking them who their favorite elementary school teachers were. Continue Reading →

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Board of Ed, Longtime New Canaan Public Schools Figure Recognized for Excellence in Science Education

A fixture in the New Canaan Public Schools’ Science Department and recent award recipient honored the Board of Education at its most recent meeting for the group’s vision, support and encouragement. Melinda Meyer, the district’s K-8 science coordinator and winner of the Connecticut Science Supervisors Association’s Fred J. Simone Award for distinguished leadership and service in science education, told members of the Board of Ed that educators in the NCPS science program “really do have the best job in the world,” thanks in large part to the school board. “We get to engage students every day in learning, making connections and providing them with the fuel to grow into the next leaders, scientists and engineers,” Meyer said during the Board of Ed’s May 15 meeting, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School. “Our students’ excitement and energy is our caffeine in the morning. It is what keeps us going. Continue Reading →

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League’s Voter Info Brochure To Go Out Soon; Seats up for Election on Selectmen, Town Council, Board of Ed

Officials with a nonprofit organization dedicated to voter education say they’re preparing to mail important information to New Canaan electors. This year’s “Know Your Representatives” brochure from the New Canaan League of Women Voters—listing all of New Canaan’s elected representatives, as well as local board and commission meeting times—has been underwritten by Bankwell, according to a media bulletin from the organization. It will go out April 17, according to the league. Seats are up for election this year on municipal bodies including the Board of Selectmen (three seats) and Town Council (six seats) and Board of Education (five seats). First Selectman Rob Mallozzi and Selectman Nick Williams, both Republicans, announced last month that they intend to seek a fourth term on the board. Continue Reading →

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‘This Is a Wonderful Community’: New Canaan Public Schools’ Facilities Director Bob Willoughby To Retire

Saying his wide knowledge, calm manner, diligence, conscientiousness and collegiality has served the kids, faculty and staff of New Canaan Public Schools well through some of the district’s largest capital projects in memory, officials on Monday night honored Director of Facilities Bob Willoughby, who will retire after this academic year. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi recalled that on being hired as New Canaan High School principal six years ago, he made an official visit to the town with his wife and daughters and “we jumped into the elevator to go meet the superintendent, Dr. David Abbey, and there was Bob in the elevator.”

“I always knew there wasn’t a problem you couldn’t solve or figure out, and I always looked to you for your experience and wisdom to do what’s right. It’s going to be hard to fill your shoes but you also taught all of us quite a bit, so we are better off than we would have been without you.”

The board presented Willoughby with a gift and he earned a long ovation from its members as well as about 20 people in attendance at the meeting. They included New Canaan’s highest elected official. First Selectman Rob Mallozzi, who has said he was so impressed with Willoughby’s role in the school district that he created a counterpart position for the town, called the facilities director “a real pleasure to work with.”

“We hit it off immediately and it’s one thing for me to hit it off immediately with him but honestly everyone I know in town has hit it off immediately with this gentleman, and I will miss you incredibly,” Mallozzi said. Continue Reading →

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