School board fails to appoint candidate for open seat

Terry Rogers Education, Headlines, Milford Headline Story

Milford School District Board of Education failed to select one of two candidates for an open seat representing Area B, requiring the district to repost the vacancy

Milford School District Board of Education failed to appoint anyone to the open seat vacated when Kris Thompson moved out of Area B. Two candidates, Sara Kate Hammer and Jennifer Masotti applied for the seat and answered questions before the board.  Candidates were called forward in alphabetical order and asked the same four questions.

“So, thank you all for joining me tonight to give you a little bit a little insight into why I would like to be on the board. I’ve lived in the Milford School District for 18 plus years. And one of the major reasons that I’m here tonight is because I am a mom to two wonderful kids who came through the Milford School District, and one is now a sophomore in college. The other one is a rising junior,” Hammer said when asked why she wanted the seat on the board. “I believe in giving back to your community and I believe that this is the backbone of your community and I wanted to say thank you for the education that my children got growing up. I’ve been active in the Milford community for a long time. But the opportunity never arose where it’s the right time. At this point, I think that this opportunity is exactly the right time for me to join. I like the good work that you guys are doing to make sure that we have a vibrant educational space for our students and also an environment our staff and the people that want to come to not only live here and have their students be here but also have opportunities and good people to come to Milford and to continue doing and build and grow this community through our schools.”

When asked what experiences and background qualified her to sit on the school board, Hammer replied that she has had the opportunity to serve on many community boards, from healthcare to Cub Scouts to Downtown Milford Inc. and more.

“Through volunteer work I’ve had the opportunity to give to different aspects of our community and our neighborhoods and work with others. I love having the opportunity to collaborate with my community to make space in any way that I can and to mitigate a good place for people to stay here and to build connections and to build relationships and to have experience and all of those things. I’ve met a lot of different people in a lot of different capacities in the community and I think my experience building relationships and also critically evaluating how an organization is working, what it needs to be successful and when problems arise how to get together to solve them.”

The next question asked by School Board President Jason Miller was what Hammer felt the role of a board member should be in the community. She replied that a board member should work with other board members to be sure they are accurately representing the community. She felt that making sure all voices are recognized was a critical skill a board member should have while also following the rules and boundaries set forth by state and local laws. Miller then asked the final question which was why the board should appoint Hammer to the position.

“I would love the opportunity,” Hammer said. “You are already doing good work and doing good things. You are all incredibly dedicated to your community in different ways and I see this as an opportunity. I think my resume reflects the work that I’ve already done in this community.”

The next candidate, Aaron Manse, was not in attendance at the meeting, leading Miller to call on the next candidate Jennifer Masotti. Prior to the start of the meeting, a member of the public spoke in favor of Masotti, explaining that she had known Masotti since she was young and watched her grow into an outstanding woman.

“I currently have three children in school this year one in third grade and one in year two at the high school,” Masotti said. “Our oldest graduated last year. I have a long relationship with Milford School District.”

When asked about her background and qualifications, Masotti stated that she was a registered nurse and a lactation consultant. She served as an educator in various capacities and was an instructor at Polytech. She has been involved in planning her own curriculum over the years and never thought she would be interested in serving on her children’s school board. However, after COVID, it became apparent to her that she needed to be an advocate for her child’s education. She also feels she would have a fresh diverse point of view as a parent on the board. Miller then asked what she felt a board member’s role should be within the district.

“As a school board member, the teachers as well as students should have every opportunity to excel,” Masotti said.” We need teachers who are passionate in creating learning. I hope to be part of future solutions to have a positive impact on our community and the school district.”

When asked the final question by Miller regarding what she would like to communicate to the board to support her selection, Masotti stated that she was a concerned yet involved parent.

“I look forward to the new journey,” Masotti said. “I would like the opportunity to serve at the forefront in meeting the needs of the Milford School District as a parent on the school board who can expand the perspective in the areas of academics an supporting students.”

After the candidates answered questions, board member David Vezmar made a motion to appoint Hammer to the seat for Area B and it was seconded by Jean Wylie. Vezmar, Wylie and Miller voted yes to appoint Hammer while Dr. Adam Brownstein, Matthew Bucher and Scott Fitzgerald voted no. Because there was not a majority vote, the motion did not pass. Brownstein then made a motion to appoint Masotti to the seat and it was seconded by Bucher. Brownstein, Bucher and Fitzgerald voted yes, Wylie and Vezmar voted no and Miller abstained. The motion did not pass.

“We will have to bring this back and, I guess, repost the original announcement,” Miller said. “We will also have to get additional information from folks so we can get a better idea.”

Vezmer didn’t agree that the vacancy needed to be reposted since there were candidates who responded. Miller explained that it was policy that because the board did not appoint a candidate, they were required to start over in order to fill the vacancy. The matter was tabled until a future meeting and the vacancy will again be posted to allow additional candidates to apply.

 

 

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