NEW BRITAIN - The Board of Education on Tuesday elected Gayle Sanders-Connolly as its new secretary, replacing Daisy Sanchez, who recently resigned.
Sanders-Connolly, a Republican, was nominated by school board Vice President Nick Mercier, who spoke of her eagerness to step into the role.
“She’s been a very committed member of the board. Ironically, I think this is her first missed board meeting since she took office,” Mercier said. Sanders-Connolly missed Tuesday’s meeting due to a family emergency.
The vote to elect Sanders-Connolly was 5-0. Five members of the board, including Sanders-Connolly, were absent.
Sanchez, a Democrat first elected to the board in 2013 and re-elected last November, resigned after being appointed the school district’s new district-wide supervisor of central registration services pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, as school district employees cannot serve on the Board of Education.
“Daisy has been a part of our CSDNB family for the past four years serving as a board member, and now we are excited to have her serve as our district-wide supervisor of central registration,” School Superintendent Nancy Sarra told The Herald. “Daisy’s skill set, along with her positive and friendly demeanor, will be instrumental as we work to bring our central registration procedures for all of our families in alignment with our commitment to service excellence.”
Sanchez, who begins in her new job today, told The Herald she had previously worked in Meriden’s central registration office and that experience will help her now. Sanchez said she considered the opportunity to apply for the job a chance she couldn’t pass up.
Sanchez said she hopes her replacement shares the same passion and commitment to education that she does.
“Ultimately, every decision you make is for the kids,” Sanchez said.
Candidates for the registration office job were interviewed in December, when Ann Rival’s retirement created a vacancy.
The Common Council fills vacant Board of Education positions and will name a replacement for Sanchez. Since Sanchez is a Democrat, her replacement must also be a Democrat.
Democratic Town Committee Chairman Bill Shortell said the party recently put word out about the vacancy and the nominating committee will meet tonight to interview candidates. After the interviews, the committee will make a recommendation to the Common Council.
Shortell told The Herald the committee is searching for someone with a background in education, whether that means a parent active in his or her child’s school or someone already in an education-related profession.
“We want someone who has been a good Democrat and believes in our principles,” Shortell added. “It helps if they’ve been active in the party.”
President Pro Tempore Eva Magnuszewski told The Herald she plans on having a nominee for Sanchez’s vacant seat by next Wednesday’s Common Council meeting.
In other news Tuesday night, the Board of Education:
- Heard an update from Sarra on students displaced by hurricanes. The district now has 218 students from areas affected by last summer and fall’s storms – 175 in pre-K through eighth grade and 43 in high school.
Sarra said she sent a letter to state Education Commissioner Dianna Wentzell on Tuesday to ask about additional money for districts dealing with an influx of students from hurricane-affected areas.
- Accepted a donation of about 80 toys and $45 from Premier Limousine to go to the New Britain Transitional Center.
Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.