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Lyme-Old Lyme Board of Education candidates explain their priorities

By Kimberly Drelich

Publication: The Day

Published October 30. 2013 4:00AM

Old Lyme - Seven candidates are running for full terms and three others are vying for a two-year spot to represent the town on the Lyme-Old Lyme Board of Education.

The candidates all named state requirements, including a new teacher evaluation system and the Common Core State Standards, and a projected decline in student enrollment, as issues facing the district in upcoming years.

Republicans Steven Cinami, an incumbent, and Kirk Hoerauf are running along with Democrats Rick Goulding, Diane Linderman, Nancy Lucas Edson and Jean Wilczynski, and unaffiliated Maxwell Greenwood, for four full-term spots.

Greenwood is endorsed by the Republican Town Committee.

Cinami, a four-year board member, said it was important that the board support the district through new academic standards and monitor the new evaluation program so it minimally affects teaching time. He also stressed finding creative ways to offer the same level of programs to students, even if the district's population declines in the future.

Edson, a clinical social worker and practicing psychotherapist, stressed supporting teachers as they implement new state standards. She said the board should continue to respond to any concerns from residents, as it undergoes ongoing issues, such as a multi-year redistricting plan.

Goulding, a physician and cross-endorsed Democrat, said the board must tackle maintaining and improving students' experiences with potentially fewer resources due to declining enrollment.

Greenwood said the district's main issues are declining enrollment, unfunded state mandates, the new Common Core State Standards and school safety.

Hoerauf, who has a background in the chemicals and gases industry, said issues include making sure budgetary spending improves student learning and boosts science, technology and math programs.

Enthusiastic about strategic planning, Linderman, who works in accounting, said the board can be innovative if there is a declining enrollment. For example, the district could partner with other towns to provide programs, as the district does for football.

Wilczynski, who has a consulting background, said she supported collaboration among the school community and saw strategic planning as an opportunity to learn more about the community's values.

Two-year term

Republican incumbent Steve Spooner, Democrat Sarah Smalley and Russell A. Gomes Jr., a Republican incumbent running as a petitioning candidate, are trying for a two-year term.

Elected last year to fill a vacancy, Spooner supported continuing "to oversee the smooth transition for the students in the redistricting plan."

Gomes, a 16-year board member and building committee chairman, said that in order to stay competitive, it was important to support the schools' "excellent teachers," "state-of-the-art curriculum" and technology programs.

Smalley, a special education coordinator, said she brings an understanding of the educational landscape, including state standards, and said the district should find innovative solutions to maintain and improve programs with potentially fewer students.

Candidates for other races are: Republicans Christopher Kerr and Janet Sturges for Board of Finance; Democrat Bennett Bernblum and Republicans Robert Jose and J. David Kelsey as alternates on the Board of Finance; Democrat George Finley and Republican Timothy Griswold for Board of Assessment Appeals; and Republican Eileen Coffee for town clerk.

Zoning Commission candidates are: Republican Tom Risom and Democrat Joseph Soucie for a term beginning 2014, and Republican John Johnson for a term beginning 2013. Zoning Board of Appeals candidates are: Republican Arthur Sibley Sr. for a term beginning 2014, Republican Martha Rumskas and Democrat Mary Stone for a term beginning 2013, and Republicans Laurie O'Brien and Harry Plaut for alternate spots. Democrat Edgar Butcher and Republican Donald Willis are running for a term on the Planning Commission beginning 2013, and Republican Steven Ross is running for a term beginning 2014.

k.drelich@theday.com

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In their own words

The Day asked candidates for top offices in the municipal elections to answer three questions:
■ What are the major issues for your town?
■ What makes you the best candidate for this office?
■ What was the last book you read, and what did you think of it?
To read their responses, go to
www.theday.com/voterguide.

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