New Canaan resident Katrina Parkhill is seeking the endorsement of the Republican Party for re-election to the Board of Education. We put some questions to the incumbent about her candidacy. Our exchange follows.
New Canaanite: Tell us about yourself—how long have you lived in New Canaan, what have you been involved with here in town and what led you to your decision to seek re-election?
Katrina Parkhill: I have lived in New Canaan for 15 years with my husband and three children who will enter 7th, 10th, and 11th grades this fall. They have all attended our excellent public schools since kindergarten. I was elected to the Board of Education four years ago and am presently serving the role of Board Chair. My years on the BOE were preceded by a decade of volunteerism in our schools and town, including PTC President of West School and board-level positions with the First Presbyterian Nursery School, New Canaan Winter Club, and the Newcomers Club. I have also held multi-year roles with New Canaan Youth Lacrosse and the Children’s Ministries programs at our church. Before moving to New Canaan, I spent a decade working in the healthcare industry as a management consultant and in brand management for Pfizer Inc. I am seeking re-election because, in many ways, I feel like I am just getting started. It’s incredible to reflect on what we accomplished in our schools and our town these last two years. As I think about the next four years, I feel energized by the opportunities to continue to make positive impacts and change for our students. I care deeply about our school system, our kids and doing all we can to enrich their lives, both academically and emotionally, especially after this past year.
What have been your biggest contributions to the elected body for which you are seeking GOP endorsement at the July 20 caucus?
As chair of the BOE for the past two years, I have been “all in” since COVID arrived in March 2020. Alongside Superintendent Dr. Bryan Luizzi, and with continuous support from my fellow BOE members, I led our Board through an unprecedented time of uncertainty and change for our schools, faculty, staff, and students. I chaired the Reopen Committee that worked throughout last summer and the fall to reopen our schools and worked as part of our Resources Committee to address budget challenges and spending needs during COVID. I am immensely proud of our school system and the way we all worked together to provide continuous in-person instruction and continuity for our students all year. Throughout, I strived to be a good partner and collaborator with our administration, our town boards, and our school families to achieve success during this very challenging year. While COVID demanded a lot of our board, we did not shy away from important issues like changing school start times and working with our administration to achieve an 8 a.m. start for elementary schools. We also continued routine work on curriculum reviews and moved ahead with large energy and cost-saving projects in our buildings.
What is your vision for the elected position/body for which you are seeking re-election?
New Canaan’s schools are poised for an exciting time of innovation and continued excellence as we emerge from our pandemic experience. I hope to utilize my deep knowledge of our schools and my leadership experience to help guide and inspire our board and our school system for the next four years. My priority will always be the academic and social-emotional needs of our students. Additionally, we must continue to fully fund the excellent education we provide to our students on balance with identifying areas for new savings and further efficiencies. Finally, with Zoom meetings mostly behind us, I hope to strengthen our solid partnerships and relationships with our town board members and continue my engagement at the regional and state level on behalf of New Canaan students and our community. The opportunity to once again work with parents and community members in person is something I look forward to this fall. It would be an honor to continue my service to the BOE and the town of New Canaan.
[Editor’s Note: Between June 28 and July 9, NewCanaanite.com is publishing Q&As with local Republicans seeking party endorsement for elected offices in contested races at the July 20 GOP caucus. We will publish letters of endorsement for the Republican caucus and Democratic endorsement meeting through July 9. Comments are disabled on this post.]