Board of Education
Family: Spouse – Kate. Children – One son.
Relevant Experience: BOE (2017-present); Degrees from Bentley University and Penn State University (Masters of Public Administration); Cheshire resident for 40 years
Reason for Running: During the last 4 years I have…
- Worked with the District administration to keep our Schools open as long as possible during the pandemic.
- Helped establish the School Safe Climate Committee, improving transparency for all incident reporting at local schools.
- Enacted new policy to strengthen CPS response to bullying of all kinds.
- Worked with the District administration to keep spending in check while achieving academic excellence and providing fantastic value for our citizens.
- Established a nepotism policy to bring transparency and honesty to the CPS hiring practices.
- Have fought to modernize our schools for all of its students.
There is still work to be completed. I hope I have earned your trust and I ask for another term as a member of your Board of Education.
Most Important Issue to You: The two most important issues to me are school modernization and supporting our students so they can recover academically and emotionally from this terrible pandemic. These short-term and long-term goals are the most pressing issues our school system faces.
The school shutdown that affected the second half of the 2019-2020 school year has had a ripple effect throughout every age and grade level. We were very fortunate to have been open every day during the 2020-2021 school year. Yet we still had our share of quarantines, social distancing, and remote learning. Combined, our students fared better than almost all but we still lost ground compared to results from 2018-2019. We have children that have not experienced in person learning for 18 months and others that have fallen behind.
For all of our students, the emotional and academic toll is yet to be fully measured. The transition back for our students will take time. I pledge to support these efforts as we move forward together.
Second is our long-term modernization efforts. I’m committed to modernizing schools for all our students. Phase 1 will help consolidate several of our oldest buildings while absorbing a large projected increase in our elementary school population. This plan will maximize our combined financial resources in a responsible manner and begin our multi-phase modernization program on a solid footing. The total project will take many years and only with a committed Cheshire can we achieve this goal.
Occupation: Government Relations Consultant
Family: Spouse – Liz. Children – Son, Franklin
Relevant Experience: B.A. Political Science, University of Connecticut; 18 years of state and local government experience, including education policy; Helped to craft and pass the school safety legislation (Public Act 13-3) after the Sandy Hook tragedy while serving as the Governor’s Director of Policy and Government Affairs
Reason for Running: I am a lifelong Connecticut resident and moved to Cheshire in 2019 with my wife, Liz, to raise our young family. Community service is part of my identity and as such, I proudly serve as the current vice chairman of the Cheshire Energy Commission. I am running because local school boards everywhere are in danger of losing honorable, experienced, and dedicated leaders from both major political parties due to increasing harassment and intimidation. Our children and our community deserve Board members who can be trusted to rise above debunked conspiracy theories, and to work together across the political divides to better the community … not to amplify misinformation. I am running to ensure that our school system has strong, forward-thinking leaders for both our existing students and for all the children, including my son, who will be attending our public schools in the future.
Most Important Issue to You: Public health and safety of our children is always paramount for many reasons, but especially so during the pandemic in order to preserve safe and continuous in-person learning for our children. If elected, I intend to follow public health measures endorsed by credentialed public health experts to help guide board decisions. I am in full support of school mask mandates to keep our children and our broader community safe; at least until all school aged students are vaccine-eligible and parents have had adequate time for their children to receive it. Other important priorities of mine include:
Continue exploring cost-effective and meaningful ways to modernize our aging schools that both meet the needs of our school system and is the most cost-effective to the taxpayers;
Enhanced Civics and American Government curriculum;
Staying ahead of the technology and social media curve to reduce bullying and cyberbullying;
Promoting curriculum that enhances students’ skills for college and career readiness, particularly in existing and emerging workforce sectors of need.
Occupation: Technology & Business Transformation Leader
Family: Wife Kathy, Daughters Nicole (19) and Victoria (17). Dogs: Mini and Emily. Cats: Clem and Moe.
Relevant Experience: Three-term BOE Member (Chair 2019-Present); ACES Governing Board Member
Reason for Running: As your BOE Chair, I believe in fairness, open communication, and teamwork. Every stakeholder in our community has a say in our schools. I’ve worked tirelessly over the years to break the down the barriers preventing the BOE from being more accessible and being proactive to the concerns and needs of our community.
I pride myself in working in a collaborative manner with my colleagues and with our community. We’ve been able to advance Cheshire Public Schools into one the best schools districts in CT and across the country. We’ve been able to achieve this even during one of the worst, and unprecedented, pandemics in our history.
School modernization, social-emotional well-being and school climate requires steadfast leadership and a steady hand. I’ll continue to advance these opportunities with you. I’m running to continue our great progress and to ensure that your voice is heard and respected.
Most Important Issue to You: One of the most important opportunities for me is school modernization. I’ve been working on this opportunity for several years. I’m heavily invested in ensuring that we get this right. I have great appreciation for how this will benefit our students and why it’s needed. This is perhaps the largest capital project Cheshire may undertake in our lifetime. In addition to the physical infrastructure improvements, we have a much bigger immediate challenge: Our projected elementary school enrollment will exceed functional capacity by 2026. In short, we’re running out of space. This is a great problem to have as our award-winning schools are attracting new residents and helping our community to grow and diversify.
Now is the time to solve for our aging infrastructure and make the needed investments in a responsible manner. I’m often asked about the cost of doing nothing with our school buildings. Well, the answer is before us. I discuss the needs of school modernization with anyone that is willing to listen. While the focus has been on space constraints, ADA compliance, flex classrooms, STEAM programming, student growth, equity, there’s much more at stake here: school climate.
How we conduct ourselves in discussing the needs and merits of the modernization plan will help advance a positive school climate for our students. I believe that our new school buildings should be built upon the foundations of mutual respect and positivity. I believe in team work that extends beyond the BOE and into our community. Let’s show our children that we can and will continue to do better.
Family: Husband, three children
Relevant Experience: Member of Parent/Teacher Organizations; Treasurer, Cheshire Education Foundation; Financial Services Manager for 13 years.
Reason for Running: As a servant leader, I am seeking opportunities to give back to the community and to use my professional expertise, school and community volunteering experience, combined with a compassionate, collaborative, and forward thinking style to serve as a school board member.
Most Important Issue to You: Our School District faces the challenge of meeting facility needs as our student population continues to grow and learning needs change to adapt to state and national requirements. Our schools are going to require a major investment in infrastructure to not only ensure the safety and well-being of our students, but provide them with a facility that meets the needs of a 21st century learning environment. We have world class students; why not give them a world class environment conducive to their learning needs. As a community, we must ensure that every child is provided with an engaging educational environment that encourages individual growth and learning. We need to work together to enhance student outcomes by reviewing school curriculum needs and creation of a streamlined plan for implementation that is collaborative, transparent and communicated appropriately to parents and stakeholders.
Note: Patricia Cramer did not submit information to The Cheshire Herald.