Mike DeGrego

Republican

District 1

Qualifications: I am a current member of the Board of Education, and have a master's degree in social studies. I am a certified teacher, and currently teach as a substitute. Success and growth of the children is what is most important to me. I attend as many school functions as I can to get a better understanding of what the needs are of the teachers, staff, students, administrators, the parents, and the public. I like to become involved by participating as I did at Law High School on Sept. 11, 2013 as a keynote speaker at the assembly. My background as a police officer allows me to offer my experience in the safety and security in the schools.

What do you hope to accomplish? My passion is rooted in seeing that our children are afforded the best education that our community can provide. It is my desire to see that our students (and their classroom teachers) are provided the tools they need to flourish, become civic-minded citizens and to know our American History as a basic foundation on which they can build their lives. I have an obligation to meet the needs of the residents of District 1 as it relates to the Board of Education.

John B DeRosa

Republican

District 1

Qualifications: As a lifelong resident and graduate of the Milford education system and currently working (10+ years) as an associate professor at Quinnipiac, I am a “teacher” at heart. These experiences in education have prepared me to give to my community in addressing the challenges of today - meeting the education needs of every child, addressing the growing population of special needs, and keeping our buildings safe/comfortable. Employed with an international manufacturing company (17+ years) and involved in managing budgets affecting 6000+ people will enable me to prioritize the needs of the district and allocate dollars in the most effective/efficient way.

What do you hope to accomplish: We need to keep education goals obtainable/achievable while maintaining fiscal responsibility and bringing new ideas to challenge the system to provide an efficient way of teaching. We need to revert back to the K-5 elementary configuration, which would provide better continuity in learning and more support from home. Long-term, the declining enrollment and how that translates into building use needs to be discussed. I would work with the superintendent, elected board and staff to address those needs. I would entertain a conversation on how STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) will work with Common Core.

Mark Ahrens

Democrat

District 1

Qualifications: I have experience in three walks of life that make me uniquely qualified

to be an effective member of the BoE; business person, educator, and parent. As a business person, I understand the need to set priorities, do more with less, and take corrective actions when situations dictate.

As an educator and owner of Mathnasium, I have the vantage point of seeing, first-hand, the educational results of students from a variety of school districts. I see what works well and not so well. As a parent of a Milford student, I see the educational process unfold on a daily basis.

What do you hope to accomplish: I want to establish a culture of excellence in Milford schools. This culture should exist not only with regard to student performance, but also within our teachers and administrators, our sports and other extracurricular groups, as well as with the levels of parental involvement. I will be an effective steward of taxpayer monies, ensuring that funds are spent for the direct benefit of Milford's students. I would like the BoE to adopt a more active role of oversight, be willing and able to ask tough, fair-minded questions of the administration, and expect time-sensitive action plans, if warranted.

Laura Fetter

Democrat

District 1

Qualifications: As a member of the Board of Education, along with my background in financial services coupled with my education provides me with the knowledge to help make sound decisions pertaining to how we can get the most value for our money and ensure that money is spent on learning. As a parent who is involved in my child's education, as well as being married to a teacher, I understand the challenges that we currently face. This combined with experience working on various community and non-profit boards has given me first-hand knowledge, insight and awareness to the task at hand.

What do you hope to accomplish: My top priority is to ensure that every child will be successful by developing a school system that we are proud of. The biggest challenge facing Milford's school system is closing the achievement gap. At the end of the day we all have a vested interest in the outcome of students' education. By continuing to advocate for children of all abilities and raising the bar, encouraging and promoting education as the best investment that we can give our students, and continuing my work with the Milford Education Foundation and the Board of Education I hope to help close the achievement gap.

Joyce Charney

Republican

District 2

Qualifications: I have been employed at Sikorsky Aircraft for the past 30 years in the finance department. I have worked in several areas within finance, payroll department, accounts payable, currently as the salary timekeeper handling the salaried employee workforce worldwide. Each area in the department has given me the ability to deal with a vast number of people, high pressure situations and deadlines. This experience will enable me to handle BOE situations in a professional manner. I hold a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of New Haven, which I obtained by attending night classes while working full time.

What do you hope to accomplish? If elected I would like the board to review the emphasis on standardized testing. It is an unnecessary pressure put on not only the students but also the teachers. I believe one of the reasons that standardized test scores have not been as high as expected over the past few years is that too much emphasis is placed on them. Let's get the emphasis back to the basics allowing teachers to teach the students things they will utilize in their future. Lightening up on the emphasis will prove to be beneficial to the students, teachers and test scores.

Doreen Fontana

Republican

District 2

Qualifications: My experience as an educator will be a tremendous asset as a member of the board. I began my career as a paraprofessional with the Milford Public Schools in the Autism Program. During that time, I obtained my certification in Special Education and a Master of Science in Special Education with a concentration in autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities. I have taught Special Education with Woodbridge Public Schools and I am a Special Education Teacher with Darien Public Schools. I am certain my skills as an educator will be invaluable when making decisions for the students in Milford.

What do you hope to accomplish: As a member of the Board of Education my hope will be to adopt policies that will benefit all of our students in regular education, special education, and the alternative program. As a certified special education teacher, I will bring my knowledge and experience of education into each decision.

Susan Glennon

Democrat

District 2

Qualifications: I am seeking re-election to a second term on the school board and am currently Majority Leader, the liaison to PTA Council and one of two board members serving on the Long Range Planning Committee. Throughout the years my children attended Milford schools I served on many school committees and held leadership roles in PTA at the local, city-wide and state-wide level. As an early childhood caregiver, education has been a big part of my professional life. I take my responsibilities as a board member very seriously and feel I can continue to make a valuable contribution.

What do you hope to accomplish: I hope to continue my role on the Long Range Planning Committee, developing a proactive plan to address declining student enrollment and aging buildings. We are evaluating data and options and expect to have recommendations for the board in early spring 2014. Additionally, by maintaining strong goals and high expectations for excellence in all areas of the school system, I want to work with the superintendent to assure we have the necessary resources to allow our students and staff to achieve at the highest levels possible, in a way we can all be proud of.

Tracy Casey

Democrat

District 2

Qualifications: I have served on Milford's Board of Education for the past six years and have been chairman for the past two. I studied the difficult issues facing the board, discussed those issues with residents and administration to consider all the different solutions and voted with what I believe has been the best interests of Milford's children, taxpayers and the community at large. I bring broad business experience, including strategic direction, managing budgets and developing policy, providing valuable skill to board issues. I am passionate about our children's education and my past six years demonstrate my commitment to this work.

What do you hope to accomplish: This is a very exciting time for the education community. During the past two years, the current Board of Education launched a Long Range Planning study, a Special Education audit and began the implementation of the Common Core curriculum, associated testing and new teacher and administration evaluation systems. I would like to continue to serve on the board to bring this work to fruition. Additionally, this past year I brought the boards of aldermen and education together to approve the School Resource Officer Program. I commit to continuing this integrated work and doing what is best for the Milford community.

Tom Jagodzinski

Republican

District 3

Qualifications: A father of three and grandfather, I know the importance of a quality education. As a retired vice president of a major Connecticut bank, I've had experience creating and managing multi-million dollar budgets and managing hundreds of employees. I chaired a group responsible for identifying opportunities to improve performance bank-wide and was trained in techniques to accomplish this. Earlier, I worked as a technology consultant to a variety of organizations including a university, state and local governments. Over the past decade I have become familiar with our local government and the budgeting process for the city and schools.

What do you hope to accomplish: I believe we have a moral obligation to provide our students with the best possible education and Milford's future depends on quality schools. Recently the board heard a presentation about our high schools' Advanced Placement classes. The teachers were professional and enthusiastic. The students were bright, articulate with a clear love of learning. I want that enthusiasm for teaching in every classroom and all our students to have the love of learning those students embraced. The board should set high expectations for itself, the administration, staff, parents and students. I'm excited by the opportunity to make our schools even better.

Anthony Piselli

Republican

District 3

Qualifications: I have 16 years of outside municipal experience navigating budgets, deadlines and government requirements. What is most important to me is to have someone who will listen, then take action. The Board of Education makes decisions on budgets, sets policies, reviews curriculum recommendations, sets the tones for the district, and acts as the voice of the people among other things. What I have found in my many years volunteering within Scouting and working with our young people is that communication is key to understanding what is expected/desired, especially the listening side of communication. Listening is what I do best.

What do you hope to accomplish: Milford Schools currently lack educational continuity at the elementary level and I believe that we need to return to neighborhood schools i.e. the K-5 system. Our current system has too many transitions, which requires our families to be “invested” in two school communities. Parents were not, are not, happy with the current structure (sure they work around it) and other districts who tried this have reverted back to a more traditional elementary structure. I will work with the Board of Education to take steps to return our system to a K-5 system.

Christopher Saley

Democrat

District 3

Qualifications: I am a member of the Board of Education, the Permanent Building Committee, the negotiating committee for teacher and administrator contracts, a member of the West Shore and Jonathan Law PTA and former member of the Milford Sewer Commission. I have over fifteen years experience as manager in for-profit and not-for-profit businesses with oversight of over 50 employees and a budget of over $2 million and was intimately involved in running a $27 million-a-year company. I worked as a teamster, which helped me understand how unions work, including contracts, grievances, disciplinary procedures, arbitration and terminations.

What do you hope to accomplish: I hope to implement the recommendations of the special education audit and transportation audit. These best-practices recommendations would improve our school systems substantially and reduce costs from 4-9 million dollars a year. I would funnel these savings back into a universal pre-school program for all 3-4 year olds in the city as well as a universal before and after-care program within all elementary schools so working parents would have options for their school-aged children. We could accomplish this and still save money and create a strong foundation for our children to begin their education.

George Gensure

Democrat

District 3

Qualifications: I am a former Analyst for the Pittsburgh Public Schools, implementing technology solutions for the Human Resources and Finance departments. Over the last two years, I have served the 3rd District as a Board of Education member, and have added to my experience with the budgeting, negotiation, and operational processes surrounding education in that time. I have struck a balance between being a receptive representative of my district's concerns while demonstrating a fiscally responsible attitude as a public servant.

What do you hope to accomplish: I will, first and foremost, continue to listen to the citizens of the 3rd district, and ensure that I am a voice for their needs and desires and that these are heard in Milford. In the face of changes which require our schools to become more efficient and raise standards, I look to find the best possible education to provide to our students with the resources available. The challenges facing students, particularly the skyrocketing cost of higher education, require us to find new and innovative ways to expand the bounds of what they can achieve as they leave high school.

Walter Cash

Republican

District 4

Qualifications: I am a longtime citizen and a taxpayer in Milford. That should be enough to qualify me to seek this position. However, I also am father of three children and grandfather of six. Education is important to me. I want what others want-an educational system that has quality teachers in the classroom, provides challenging coursework for those who excel, and resources for those who need a bit more help. It is time for me to give back to our community and ensure that my grandchildren, our children, have the same opportunities afforded me by my education many years ago.

What do you hope to accomplish: I want an educational system that has quality teachers and programs that prepare our students for whatever choices the want to make after they graduate be it college, trade school, or work, and I don't want it to “break the bank.” I want neighborhood schools-the current structure at our elementary level isn't working for families or kids.

Heinz Peter Stock

Republican

District 4

Qualifications: I am older and wiser than my opponents. My solid engineering background will enable me to make decisions using data and calculations. I have been involved with professional people in group settings to achieve favorable results towards a common goal of bringing in jobs on time and under budget while working for a mechanical firm.

Accomplishments: Title of VP Engineering, BSME degree from UNH, and holding an unlimited contractor license.

Earl E. Whiskeyman, Jr.

Democrat

District 4

Qualifications: Currently serving on the Board Of Education. Currently serving on Board of Governors, ACES. Now retired, but past experiences include: five years as IT director at Naugatuck Public School District, Director of Graduate Program in Software Engineering at Fairfield University, 15 years teaching at BEI and Fairfield University, Manager of DBA group at Pitney Bowes in IT department, including multimillion dollar budget for this group.

What do you hope to accomplish: I hope to accomplish a balanced approach to both education and expenses. By continuously monitoring and evaluating both the educational progress of the students and the effectiveness and efficiency of expenditures, I expect to see a continuously improving educational achievement for the district. Students should be exposed to a wide variety of educational experiences, including academics, art, music, sports and crafts. We must not allow narrowly defined tests to drive us to overemphasize some areas to the detriment of a balanced educational system.

Dr. Heidi Gold-Dworkin

Democrat

District 4

Qualifications: I have a strong background in education especially in science education. I received my graduate education from Yale and my undergraduate degree from Cornell. I have published numerous articles in scientific research journals including Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and Cell. I have taught in classrooms from Pre-K through college, inner city public and private schools. I have trained teachers in the US, Japan, Korea, and Brazil. I have consulted with Bayer, Pfizer, IBM, AAAS, Kaplan, and McGraw Hill on science education. Most importantly, I am honest and dedicated to what is best for Milford's students.

What do you hope to accomplish: The global and economic achievement gap is the biggest challenge facing the Milford school system. I hope to work together with the members of the BOE and the superintendent to develop a stronger education system in Milford. All students should be prepared for college or 21st century careers upon graduation from high school. I believe we should use our resources in the most efficient and effective way to ensure that our education system prepares Milford's students to enter the best colleges and most competitive job markets.

Suzanne DiBiase

Republican

District 5

Qualifications: I was born here, educated here, grew up here. That, and the fact that I have a sincere desire to improve the overall quality of life for our community are good starts to what I can bring to the table. I think those three things give me a good start to being an accessible board member. That coupled with listening to my fellow citizens as well as the superintendent and her staff rolled into some common sense and you are ready to sit on the board.

What do you hope to accomplish: My best hope is to help our community understand the strain that unfunded mandates place on our district. That is, those laws that are passed by the state, which requires us to pay for something they mandate that we do. It could be a program or a service. The money that our taxpayers provide to cover these unfunded mandates is huge and it seems that each year more are added to our plate. I think about the things we really could accomplish if our hands and pocketbooks weren't tied with unfunded mandates.

Raymond G. Kirmaier

Republican

District 5

Qualifications: I am qualified to serve as a member of the Board of Education representing the 5th District because: As a product of our Public School System and a long-time citizen of Milford, I understand the needs of our students and of our resident taxpayers alike; as a business manager, I understand the needs of the commercial and manufacturing sectors that have thrived in the past, and will continue to demand qualified candidates for employment; as a team builder, I understand how to work with others toward defining and achieving common goals.

What do you hope to accomplish: Along with my Republican colleagues who offer themselves as qualified and enthusiastic candidates for the Board of Education, our initial goal will be to unify the board, and work together as a board. This singular accomplishment will allow us to best represent the citizens of Milford and begin to provide the best education value for our tax dollars.

One program for immediate consideration and action is the return of our school system to the K-5 system. The return to the K-5 system will impose less stress and strain on our students and their parents.

Sarah Ferrante

Democrat

District 5

Qualifications: I work in non-profit development, so I am challenged with providing high quality services with finite funds. This is not unlike the Board of Education's obligation to prepare all students to achieve at their highest level within the financial constraints of the budget. I am qualified for the BOE because I understand that the key to overcoming these challenges is focusing on the mission. As long as every measure considered by the board is evaluated for its efficacy in promoting student achievement, we can work towards long-term, holistic strategies and policies that will see students growing and excelling.

What do you hope to accomplish: Milford's education system is at an exciting point. With the implementation of the Common Core Standards and the work of the Long Range Planning Committee, Milford schools are poised for incredible growth and achievement. On the Board of Education, I hope to ensure that these opportunities for excellence are realized. Every student is entitled to a competitive and inspiring public education that will prepare him or her to be an active contributor to our global world. And, I am committed to ensuring that Milford students have a school system that will prepare and energize them to fulfill their potential.

Laura Fucci

Democratic

District 5

Qualifications: For over 17 years, I've been involved with the Milford Public Schools as a parent, advocate, volunteer, PTA member and former substitute paraprofessional. Together, these experiences have provided me with a varied and deep perspective, one which would add a distinct voice to the decision-making process on the Board of Education. I believe that public education is vital for our society to function. Raising a family, including a child with special needs, has taught me how to balance different requirements and viewpoints. Having a child currently attending Milford's schools affords me a current outlook as well.

What do you hope to accomplish: We need to foster an environment of respect for differences so students are able to learn in safe surroundings. Educators face increasing demands beyond academics. They need appropriate resources to meet those challenges. I will work to support their efforts in the classroom. Most successful endeavors result from thoughtful and informed collaboration and communication across many points of view. I hope to expand such relationships among school, families and the community to find solutions to our educational obstacles. I will work on behalf of all students to obtain an appropriate and quality public education that helps prepare them for adulthood.