NewCanaanite.com received the following endorsement letters for Republicans seeking party backing at the caucus for election to the Board of Education. The endorsements are published here in the order in which they were received. The GOP caucus is to be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the New Canaan High School gym.
The New Canaanite will not publish endorsement letters for the caucus after Sunday, July 14.
While we are still enjoying summer vacation, there are a few important developments for parents, teachers, and everyone else interested in New Canaan’s schools.
Since the beginning of this year, I have been helping organize Hands Off Our Schools, a statewide, non-partisan movement that advocates for local decision-making in education for all school districts within Connecticut. We support voluntary shared services between school districts and between school districts and municipal governments to improve educational outcomes and reduce costs. We want to protect our excellent schools as well as our tax dollars.
At the same time, we actively – and successfully – opposed measures to force New Canaan schools to collectivize under the control of new regional governments without any accountability to our town council or board of finance. To that end, we helped stop three bills from becoming law that threatened our town’s autonomy, our schools’ excellence, and our children’s future. Their sponsors could try again, but we are prepared to fight their efforts.
Many New Canaan families helped by traveling to Hartford to speak out against such legislation proposed by the governor and his allies. Others sent written testimony. Yet others generously donated to our movement. No one has been a bigger part of our successful effort than my brilliant friends Dan and Jill LaGattuta. If it weren’t for members such as Dan and Jill, New Canaan would no longer have locally controlled schools. I am eternally grateful to them both.
I am also grateful that Dan volunteered to serve on New Canaan’s Board of Ed. Dan is smart, experienced, and committed. He will protect our schools’ educational excellence. As a father of two kids in our school system as well as a third starting in the fall, that is my top priority. At the same time, Dan is uniquely capable and willing to promote transparency and fiscal responsibility. He will protect what is great about our schools and will reform where reform is needed.
Do you want to protect New Canaan’s excellent schools? Two things you can do to help: First, please join our group. Second, New Canaan Republicans can support Dan at their caucus on Tuesday July 16th from 6:30 to 9 PM at the High School. Now that Dan and others have helped secure local control of our schools, it is critical that we use that control to protect the interests of both our students and our taxpayers. Dan LaGattuta is the perfect candidate for that job.
—Chris DeMuth, Jr.
Please join us and vote for Julie Mackle Reeves for Board of Education at the Republican Caucus this Tuesday, July 16.
We have been fortunate to know Julie and her family for many years. Julie has deep experience in education, both as a teacher and as a volunteer. As a mathematics teacher, she has taught in public and private schools and has worked on curriculum development as well as personnel committees. As an active volunteer in her three children’s schools over the years, she has served on the executive boards of East School’s PTC and New Canaan High School’s PFA. She knows our school system well and wants the best for all of our children.
Julie worked in corporate finance prior to teaching, having graduated Duke with a degree in economics, and her financial skills make her an invaluable asset when dealing with fiscal issues.
Julie joined the New Canaan Board of Education in March 2019, filling the seat previously held by Hazel Hobbs. With her educational and financial background and experience, she knows what it takes to work with colleagues and the town to help keep our school system at the top.
Not only do we believe Julie Mackle Reeves deserves a seat on the Board of Education, we know that our school district will be in a position of strength, vision and fiscal health with her service on the Board of Education. Please vote for her on Tuesday and help keep our schools and students successful.
—Liza and Chris Pohle
Dear Editor, Please join us in supporting Suzanne Jennings Harrison for a Board of Education position at next week’s Republican Caucus, Tuesday, July 16. We’ve know Suzanne and her family for more than 10 years and highly recommend her. She has spent over 11 years volunteering in the New Canaan Public Schools and she is passionate about the health and well-being of our children and the movement to change school start times where appropriate. Her mission is to preserve the excellence of the New Canaan Public School System, which has been established over generations and is what drives young families to our town. Suzanne is focused on being fiscally cautious, conscientious and thorough.
She first joined the PTC at South School as a BOE representative and after many other roles finished her tenure as PTC President. She’s raised thousands of dollars for the schools over the years, organized countless events, assisted in numerous classrooms and currently holds a seat on the PFA at the high school as secretary.
Suzanne is also actively involved in the community through St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, the New Canaan Community Foundation and the NCHS Scholarship Foundation. Suzanne and her husband John have lived in New Canaan for 15 years and have three boys, a rising junior, 8th grader and 7th grader who have thrived in South School, Saxe and NCHS.
—Brenda and Shaun McKenna
My wife Maria and I have known Carl for over 30 years and feel he is uniquely qualified to serve on the Board of Education. Carl earned a BA with High Honors from the University of Virginia, and an MA in Economics from Johns Hopkins University. He then worked in Investment Banking with Merrill Lynch, and subsequently as a Research Analyst and Portfolio Manager with an investment boutique. We are confident he will bring the business and leadership skills he has acquired and are needed to continue and enhance the excellence in our New Canaan Public School System. Although 80% of the Board of Education Budget is fixed by salaries and benefits, we believe Carl’s knowledge and skills will enable the quality of our public schools to continue, while focusing on areas of improvement and cost saving measures. We feel he will be able to put his financial analysis and commercial talents to work on this ongoing challenge.
Carl and Polly’s three boys all attend the New Canaan Public Schools, where Carl has coached both baseball and hockey, while also serving on the Baseball Board. Additionally, he has taught Sunday School at St Marks.
He is eager to accept the continuing challenge of Budget constraints, while wanting to continue to improve upon the high quality of education in the New Canaan Public Schools. I hope you will join Maria and I in endorsing and voting for Carl for a seat on the Board of Education.
—Jeffrey Hemmings and Maria Hemmings
We are writing to express our support for Julie Mackle Reeves for the Board of Education at the Republican caucus this Tuesday night.
As a former teacher herself, Julie is committed to ensuring all students receive the best education the district can provide. With three children currently in, or who have graduated from, the New Canaan public schools, she is knowledgeable about the rigorous and expansive curriculum and she will work hard to maintain the excellent standards for which our school district is known. As a current member of the Board of Education, Julie knows how to work with fellow members, administrators, and parents to ensure the forward progress of our students while keeping their health and well-being at the forefront. She strongly believes that fiscal responsibility and children’s success can and do go together. We know Julie to be a thoughtful, insightful, dedicated volunteer who will work tirelessly for our students and the school district, as well.
Please join us and vote for Julie Mackle Reeves for the Board of Education.
—Ian and Diane Hobbs