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New Canaan Democrats To Honor Kathleen Corbet, Penny Rashin at Fundraiser
May 7 @ 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm
With its theme being, “The Courage to Lead and Serve,” New Canaan Democrats will be honoring two town officials who personify those qualities, Kathleen A. Corbet and Penny Rashin, at its annual fundraiser May 7, at 4:30 p.m. at the Woodway Country Club.
Corbet first joined the Board of Selectmen in 2020, after serving New Canaan in a variety of other capacities on boards and commissions, as well as interim chief financial officer. She has more than 35 years experience as a leader in global finance and board governance.
Rashin, a retired attorney, has been committed to ensuring New Canaan’s public school students continue to benefit from an education that ranks among the best in the state. She is now serving her fourth term on the Board of Education.
Both Corbet and Rashin are parents of grown children who were drawn to the town for the quality of its schools, the feeling of community and the town’s charm.
“As Democrats and engaged New Canaan residents, we are grateful for the insights, leadership and dedication Kathleen and Penny demonstrate in their consistent, long-time leadership working for the town’s benefit”, said DTC Chairperson Christina Fagerstal. “It goes without saying these positions require long hours. Kathleen and Penny have time and again shown an understanding of what the town needs and an unwavering commitment to deliver the right solutions.”
Corbet: “To give back to the town”
Corbet moved to New Canaan in 1996 and felt an immediate interest in giving back to the town “we loved as a family,” as she put it. A postcard inviting her to join the DTC was the initial impetus for what would be a long commitment to serve in town offices, beginning with serving as an alternate on the Board of Finance. She soon became a regular member of the Board and later was elected to the Town Council.
“I found through the DTC, Board of Finance, Town Council and Board of Selectmen a way to apply the skill set I had in finance, investments and board governance,” she said. That experience included serving as president of Standard & Poor’s, the international financial and data services company, and more than 20 years in asset management for Alliance Capital as executive vice president and then CEO of its fixed income division. At Alliance, she was also named CEO of its international operation in London, and chairman of Alliance Capital Australia and New Zealand.
Currently, she leads Cross Ridge Capital, LLC, a firm she founded that specializes in private investing and strategic consulting for the financial service industry. She also serves on several corporate and non-profit boards.
In New Canaan, Corbet was interim CFO under former First Selectman Rob Malozzi. She also has served as a member of the Charter Revision Commission and a member of the Town Building Committee, overseeing the Town Hall renovation and the building of its addition.
The search for a workable solution to affordable housing is a key focus for Corbet. “Taking sides doesn’t add value,” she said. “If we work collaboratively, we can get good things done.”
Telecommunications with the aim of improving cellular service is another focus and she favors reconstituting the town’s Utility Commission to be comprised of residents who can independently evaluate the issues.
Rashin: “Guided by what’s best for the children”
First named to the Board of Education to fill a vacancy, Rashin loves the work and issues that come before the panel. As a lawyer, she finds that her background is helpful for participating in teacher negotiations, writing governance policies and being involved in two superintendent searches.
“The saying goes, ‘Find a passion.’ From the first board meeting it was fascinating to me to figure out what needed to be done to teach the children the skills they needed to succeed in life,” she said.
In addressing issues that come before the board, Rashin said her guiding principle has been, “Always go for what’s in the best interest of the children.”
Rashin was on the High School Building Committee and, as a board member, chaired the Saxe Building Committee, which fully renovated the auditorium, expanded the number of classrooms, increased the size of various music rooms, added practice rooms and provided appropriate classrooms for special education and STEM. She was also involved in the South School window replacement project and the construction of a school bus facility behind the high school.
She praised the professionals, administrators and teachers who comprise the Curriculum Leadership Council and implement the overall educational program. “They’re so talented, they work well together, and help train the teachers,” she explained. “They start with a K-12 concept, guided by an approach based on: Where do we want the kids to be when they graduate from 12th grade? And then they scaffold it down to: What do we need to teach in each grade to get them there?”
Rashin said a recent focus is aimed at fostering innovation and creative thinking to solve problems. The initiative aims to nurture and inspire K-12 students to become creative and empathetic problem solvers who enjoy tackling real life challenges in multiple disciplines. “The idea is to show students that if they try something and it doesn’t work, that’s part of the process,” Rashin said. “But if they try it again in a different way, that may be right.”
Rashin believes the New Canaan schools succeed when their students are prepared socially, emotionally and academically when they graduate and head for college or whatever post-secondary opportunity they choose.
For more information about the New Canaan Democrats and to sign up for the May 7 event honoring Kathleen Corbet and Penny Rashin, please turn to the New Canaan Democrats website at http://newcanaandems.info/.