Board of Ed Chair Katrina Parkhill To Fill Two Years Remaining on Open Seat [UPDATED]


Board of Education Chair Katrina Parkhill will fill the final two years of an open seat on the elected body, following a special meeting Friday.

The school board and Board of Selectmen during a joint meeting voted unanimously in favor of Parkhill filling the remaining portion of Carl Gardiner’s term, through Nov. 15, 2023. Gardiner resigned from the Board of Ed effective Oct. 1 due to a move out-of-state.

The Board of Ed has 30 days, or until Oct. 31, to elect someone to his seat, according to Vice Chair Brendan Hayes, who conducted the meeting from the school board side (Parkhill was in attendance but recused herself). Since Parkhill’s own current term doesn’t end until Nov. 15, the Board of Ed needed the selectmen to approve the school board’s decision to appoint her for the remainder of Gardiner’s term, Hayes said. (Parkhill is not running for re-election to a four-year term, after falling short at the Republican caucus in July.)

Parkhill said in a statement issued after Friday’s special meeting:

“During a period of great transition for the Board of Education, I am honored and grateful to have the support of the BOE and Board of Selectmen to continue my service to our community and the students I proudly represent. Over the next two years, I will do my very best to provide continuity, experience, and perspective while advancing our board goals and supporting the strong partnership with our administration, community, and town boards in a productive and meaningful way. These are challenging times for education. I hold faith that New Canaan will remain united in support of all students and continued excellence in our schools.

“To be clear, I am not a candidate for re-election I will be filling a 2-year vacancy following the resignation of Carl Gardiner. Given my current position on the BOE, I am remaining neutral and focused on the work of the schools. I am not affiliated with a slate or the election.Whatever the outcome of the election, I will partner with all future board members and continue the bi-partisan collaboration that has served our district well for many years.”

Board of Ed members voting in favor of Parkhill’s appointment included Hayes, Sheri West, Pat O’Connell, Bob Naughton, Dionna Carlson, Penny Rashin and Jennifer Richardson. They said that Parkhill has shown extraordinary leadership during an especially difficult stretch on the Board of Ed, including through the COVID-19 pandemic, and that she has been a student-first-focused collaborator on the school board.

The selectmen also voted 3-0 in favor of Parkhill.

With the appointment, Parkhill joins Naughton and Hayes as Board of Ed members holding seats that are not up for election Nov. 2. Rashin is seeking re-election to her own four-year seat. There are five total four-year seats up for re-election, as well as one two-year seat (formerly held by Julie Reeves, who moved out of state).

[Editor: This article has been edited to include an updated statement from Parkhill. Comments are disabled on this post. More info here.]

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