It's been just over a week since the Presidential Election yet voters in Old Lyme were called to the polls yet again yesterday, this time to elect a new member to the Board of Education.
After such an exhausting election season, voters could have been forgiven if they opted to sit this one out, but Old Lyme residents place a premium on quality education and the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School was packed with people who turned out to vote at the Special Town Meeting.
Old Lyme may be a small town but there's no shortage of people willing to serve as volunteers on the boards and committees needed to keep things running smoothly. When Judith Read, a Republican, announced she would be resigning from the Board of Education for health reasons mid-term, two well-qualified candidates volunteered to fill the spot until the next election in November 2013.
High School chemistry teacher Diane Linderman was the Democratic nominee. Linderman is a longtime member of the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School PTO, serves on the Ad Hoc Building Committee, and has served as President of Friends of Music at the High School.
Lynn Fairfield-Sonn, who nominated Linderman for the position, described her as committed, smart, and practical, and as someone who "understands the importance of a good education."
The Republican candidate Steve Spooner is a pilot and a business owner who manages a staff of 30. He also serves as a "classroom Dad" at Mile Creek Middle School and is vice president of that school's PTO.
Either candidate would have been a fine choice but when the votes were counted, Spooner emerged the winner.
"As a member of the Board of Education, I look forward to serving the students, teachers, and the taxpayers," Spooner said. "We have an outstanding school district with very engaged parents and I look forward to maintaining that and working on behalf of all residents."
What Spooner Hopes To Achieve As a Member of the Board
Spooner had prepared a speech, which he didn't actually make last night, but here are a few key points from his prepared statement.
"I believe the Board of Education should be an apolitical position. In this role, I see myself listening to the needs of out parents and residents and advocating on their behalf. As our district transitions to the new Common Core State Standards curriculum, I look forward to discussing the most appropriate methods in implementing these changes."
"In Old Lyme we have numerous voting constituencies; it is imperative that the Board presents reasonable and passable budgets that are acceptable and considerate of the taxpayer who provides the funding. The budget is ultimately a balancing act and must reflect our educational priorities."
"This year our school district welcomes a new superintendent and launches a redistricting plan. Our high school is also completing an extensive renovation. We do, however, continue to face many challenges as a community.
"The board must maintain a 'continuous improvement' mentality when it comes to determining appropriate policy to address these challenges especially when it comes to the influence of social media, facebook, video phones, and bullying. I look forward to advocating on behalf of our students on these important issues.
"I am excited to serve the residents of Old Lyme and look forward to being part of the Board of Education."