Letter: School board candidate asks for support

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letters_flatTo the editor,

My name is Larry Fitzgerald and I am running for the Region 16 Board of Education on the endorsed Democratic ticket and I am asking for your support. I am a retired Army lieutenant colonel and presently a Catholic school principal in Groton. I have lived in Prospect for 29 years with my wife, Carey, and our three grown children. I presently sit as chairman of the Prospect Board of Recreation and have served on the Prospect Emergency Management Advisory Council. I have bachelors and masters degrees from Southern Connecticut State University in physical education and health and hold a 6th year certificate in educational leadership from Sacred Heart University in Fairfield.

Over the next several years Region 16 will be building a new elementary school in Prospect, making renovations to Laurel Ledge School in Beacon Falls, upgrading security at all schools to protect students and staff and possibly looking at how to implement full day kindergarten. I am running for the Board of Education in order to be involved in the decision-making process on these and many other issues confronting Region 16.  I want to call upon my career as a military officer with experience in training, operations and security and as a school administrator heavily involved with school security and building management to assist the Region 16 Board of Education in moving forward with these projects and make decisions in the best interest of Region 16 and the taxpayers of Prospect and Beacon Falls.

In addition to these issues we must always keep in mind that student achievement is foremost for our school district. Our students have scored well on standardized tests. To improve/increase student achievement in Region 16 we must continue to recruit and retain great teachers and administrators. We need to identify and build future leaders from within our school system and be able to retain these leaders who have come up through our teaching ranks and who have a vested interest in improving Region 16.  Although our region test scores on the CMT and CAPT indicate that the region does a good job regarding student achievement, there is always room for improvement.

How do we go from being good to being great? We must look at moving to all day kindergarten and building upon the pre-K program. We must continue to review curriculum and standards to ensure that Region 16 students are ready to succeed in the 21st century.

The toughest job the Board of Education has is the requirement to establish an accredited, successful school system with great programs and balance that with the needs of taxpayers. It is never an easy task. We need to communicate to the taxpayers the benefits of having a great school system and what that means to our students.  In order to have students who are prepared to be successful members of society and the work force in the 21st century we need to continuously upgrade technology, maintain and improve the programs we have presently in our schools, and retain great teachers and administrators.  In order to balance this with the needs of taxpayers we must spend money wisely. What gives us the biggest bang for the buck? We must prioritize the needs of Region 16 and be able to research and look at bringing in grant money to offset the cost of operating a first class school system.

I am ready to work for you and I hope that you will support me and vote on Nov. 5.

Larry Fitzgerald

Prospect

Democratic candidate

Region 16 Board of Education