Candidate profile: Nazih Noujaim
Board of Education
Occupation: Software Engineer
Past political posts: Appointed to Board of Education, Region 16; Zoning Board of Appeals – Alternate
Education: Associate Degree, Data Processing, Waterbury State Technical College, 1984; Bachelor of Science Degree, Computer Science, University of New Haven, 1986
What should be the educational priorities of the school district?
“The educational priorities of the school district should be to always raise the bar and reach for higher goals. It is not enough just to reach a goal and be satisfied with what was accomplished. We can be satisfied and celebrate reaching a milestone, but we can’t be complacent for too long. We need to set, and reach, the next goal. One of the goals is to ensure that the highest percentage of kids graduating is college-ready and know what is expected of them after high school. Regardless of whether or not they are going to college, or joining the military or the workforce, they will still need to understand the amount of work and the hours involved in order to progress and be successful. Community involvement is another priority that needs to be continued and expanded. We need to collaboratively work and meet the challenges that are presented to us every day as a cohesive unit.”
How do you plan to approach the next budget cycle?
“We all know how tough the economy is on everyone. We need to come up with a balance so that we don’t overburden the taxpayers while still providing the kids with the best education possible. We can do this by keeping a watchful eye on programs and expenses and cutting wasteful spending. I also would like to see administrators and staff getting rewarded for their accomplishments.”
What are your qualifications for this position?
“I have earned a Bachelor’s Degree in computer science, and I have been in the business community and healthcare field for over 20 years. I understand the requirements of meeting budgets and searching for ongoing opportunities for improvement. I am a consensus builder and a team player. My wife and I have three children in the school system and are familiar with the challenges facing parents and administrators.”
What do you feel is the most important issue affecting students today? And how would you address it?
“There are many issues affecting students today. The economy has an indirect effect and most of that is beyond our immediate control. A challenge that we can meet is ensuring that our high school graduating classes are college-ready and know what is expected of them in college. The Region 16 staff and board have done a great job thus far, but we need to shoot for the stars and set a goal of a 100 percent college graduation rate. I would address the issue by working with our staff to emphasize the expectations of college or the workforce, and the expectation that the children can rise to these challenges.”