Election 2021 Republican Caucus: Board of Education Candidate Katrina Parkhill

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.

‘Her Legacy Will Continue To Inspire’: Board of Ed Honors the Late Hazel Hobbs

The Board of Education on Monday honored Hazel Hobbs, a longtime New Canaan resident and educator who passed away June 20. Hobbs was a “dedicated, loyal and longtime volunteer at the New Canaan Public Schools, and a cherished member of this board,” Chair Katrina Parkhill said during the elected body’s regular meeting, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School. “She served on this Board of Education for multiple terms, including three years as chair. When she retired only a few years ago, we joined together to honor her for her exceptional contributions to our schools and our community over the years. Hazel was a devoted and passionate member of our community, and a leader in education serving both our community and many others around us.

New Canaan’s Pat O’Connell Joins Board of Education Following Unanimous Vote

The Board of Education on Wednesday night voted unanimously to approve a longtime resident and 1988 New Canaan High School graduate to fill an open seat on the elected body. Pat O’Connell will join the Board following a 5-0 vote at a special meeting, held in the Wagner Room at NCHS. 

The Republican will fill the unexpired term of Julie Mackle Reeves, who resigned this month due to a move out-of-state. The term expires in November 2023. “As a longtime member of our community and an active volunteer over the years, Pat brings a wealth of knowledge and will be an advocate for our schools and our students,” Board Chair Katrina Parkhill said. “His professional experience and financial background will add to the breadth of skills and experience on our Board.”

Parkhill, Secretary Jennifer Richardson and Penny Rashin, Dionna Carlson and Sheri West voted in favor of O’Connell joining the Board.

Board of Ed Re-Elects Katrina Parkhill as Chair by 9-0 Vote

The Board of Education on Monday unanimously re-elected Katrina Parkhill as its chair. The school board also voted 9-0 to re-elect Brendan Hayes as vice chair and Julie Mackle Reeves as secretary. In nominating Parkhill to a second term, Hayes noted that “it’s been quite a year, to say the least.”

“In a typical year the board chair has a ton of responsibilities,” Hayes said during the meeting, which had members attend in person in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School as well as remotely. “Many hours spent with the administration, the Board and various committees to work through things on behalf of the Board and really be the leader of the Board. Really what was that means is a ton of hours.

District Plans Phased-In Return to Full In-Person Learning at Saxe Middle School

As has been done successfully at the elementary level, district officials said Wednesday that they plan to bring Saxe Middle School students back to full in-person learning in phases starting next week. Under a plan discussed at a meeting of the Board of Education Reopen Committee and backed by its members, all fifth-graders would return to Saxe on Tuesday, with the sixth grade starting full in-person learning the following Monday, Oct. 5. The approach will help faculty and staff “work through some complexity of that with the arrival, with dismissal, with lunches, with outdoors spaces, with all of what it takes, and even furniture arrangements, things like that,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi said the meeting, held via videoconference. 

“And our custodial crew has to work even harder when all the students are back in, because there’s more students in the space, more things to clean and disinfect each night and all of that. So look at fifth grade on Tuesday and then following Monday bring back in the sixth grade.