Candidate profiles: Naugatuck BOE Republicans

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N_BOEThe Citizen’s News asked candidates running for office four questions. The following are their responses.

Glenn Connan

Age: 37

Party: Republican

Occupation: Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Past Political Posts: Board of Education, Secretary

Why are you running for Board of Education?  

“I have three children in Naugatuck schools. I just want the best for them as well as all Naugatuck students.”  

What can be done to improve/increase student achievement in Naugatuck? 

Glenn Connan
Glenn Connan

“We have to create an environment where we are bringing up struggling students, rather than bringing down our more successful students. Eliminating the process of social promotion would be a good first step. Currently students move to the next grade level without having to master the material, they could fail all their subjects and yet still move up to the next grade. Rewarding failure will just get more failure and this process not only hurts our struggling students, but all other students as well. If we really care about our students we will increase our expectations. We also have to help these students by providing extra help necessary.”

How will you balance the needs of students with the needs of taxpayers come budget time?   

“I voted against both the municipal and education budgets — ‘No Too High.’ I did so because they were more than our residents can afford. We are taxing our residents out of the borough and making it more difficult to bring business into the borough. Let’s be honest the cost of education has gotten out of hand. We do have a responsibility to provide our students the best education possible, but it has to be at an affordable cost.”

What do you feel is the most important issue facing Naugatuck students today, and how will you address it? 

“After the tragedy in Newtown, nothing could be more important than keeping our kids safe. I am confident no matter who wins the election this will be a continued focus of the Naugatuck Board of Education which has and will continue to review and enhance the security of our schools.”

David Heller
David Heller

David M. Heller

Age: 54

Party: Republican

Occupation: Attorney

Past political posts: Member of Naugatuck Board of Education for 8.5 years. Board Secretary for 4 years and Board Chair for 2.5 years.

Why are you running for Board of Education?

“To continue to serve the residents and students of Naugatuck and to continue to work with my fellow Board of Education members to provide the best possible educational opportunities for the children of Naugatuck.”

What can be done to improve/increase student achievement in Naugatuck?

“The Board of Education should continue to work collaboratively with the administrators who direct and guide our school district on a daily basis and to support the principals and teachers in all of the borough’s schools to develop policies that support the academic improvement and achievement of all students.”

How will you balance the needs of students with the needs of taxpayers come budget time? 

“To always question the value and return on investment of all educational expenses incurred on behalf of the students of Naugatuck and to spend tax dollars as wisely and as economically as possible.”

What do you feel is the most important issue facing Naugatuck students today, and how will you address it?

“The most important issue facing Naugatuck students is the ability to learn and grow and function in a global environment and to become well educated citizens who can contribute to our community and can have a positive impact on everyone they come in contact with. In order to allow students to accomplish these goals, the Board of Education must work together with all stakeholders in the Naugatuck educational community to make this happen.”

Diana Malone
Diana Malone

Diana Malone

Age: 58

Party: Republican

Occupation: Retired on disability

Past political posts: Board of Education, 2.5 years

Why are you running for Board of Education?

“I am running for re-election to the Board of Education because I care greatly for the children of Naugatuck. I want our children to have the best possible educational opportunities and programs. I believe a good education is essential to the development of our youth. My husband and I as well as our two children graduated from Naugatuck High School. My three grandchildren are currently attending Naugatuck public schools. I want what is best for them as well as all Naugatuck students. ‘The students of today are the leaders of tomorrow.’”

What can be done to improve/increase student achievement in Naugatuck?

In order to improve student achievement in Naugatuck we need to give each student a solid foundation starting by reaching the student’s at an early age. We should make sure that all children who need a head start are receiving it. The sooner we can meet the emotional and educational needs of our students, the more successful they will be. I believe we should provide a preparation class for any child deemed not ready for kindergarten. With a solid foundation, continual support and good teachers all students will achieve their maximum potential. We need to teach our children problem solving and how to channel their creativity so that they can grow, thrive and be independent. The earlier they are exposed to challenging curriculum the better. Children thrive in a school environment of successful teaching and learning. They need a plan to succeed.

How will you balance the needs of students with the needs of taxpayers come budget time?

“I too am a taxpayer in Naugatuck and know that we live in a tight economy. I believe that we need to aggressively seek new sources of funding such as grants. It is important to maximize utilization of our resources while staying within our budget.”

What do you feel is the most important issue facing Naugatuck students today, and how will you address it?

“The most important issue our students face is the ever changing world of technology. Technology is changing so quickly and we need to ensure that our educators understand new technologies so they can teach these new advancements to the students as well as utilize them in their classrooms to prepare the students for the jobs of the future.”

Dorothy Neth-Kunin
Dorothy Neth-Kunin

Dorothy G. Neth-Kunin

Age:  53

Party: Republican

Occupation: 25 plus years of experience working in the Healthcare Industry

Currently employed as a substitute teacher in various school districts

Past political posts: Youth Leadership Council Committee – 2013

Vice Chair, Board of Education, 2011- present

Chair of the Curriculum Committee, 2011-present

Member of the following committees; Finance, Facility, BOE and AFSCME Pension Board and Non Union Pension Board, 2011-present

Ex-Officio member of the Naugatuck Education Foundation, 2011-present

Why are you running for Board of Education?

“I am running for the Board of Education to aid in the creation of an atmosphere that fosters learning, increases communication and fosters accountability that leads to a quality education at a price that all taxpayers can afford.”

What can be done to improve/increase student achievement in Naugatuck?

“Provide educational opportunities so that all students, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity or socioeconomic status will achieve at high levels. Aid in the achievement of academic success for all students by reviewing course program and work with administrators to provide programs that prepare students for 21st century learning.”

How will you balance the needs of students with the needs of taxpayers come budget time? 

“Work towards financial accountability through a positive school-community partnership. Work with administration to involve the community in the changes to the curriculum so they understand the impact of the common core state standards. I am committed to making sound decisions and choices that will benefit all the children of Naugatuck’s public school system.”

What do you feel is the most important issue facing Naugatuck students today, and how will you address it?

“Socio-emotional issues that kids face today beginning in the lower elementary grades.  We as a board need to look to the administrators to share with us the internal and external influences that impact our students. We as a board need to work towards a way to produce mentally, emotionally, and physically balanced students. We need to learn to close the achievement gap as we move towards smarter balance. Making sure parents are involved in student learning so they understand the changes and levels of expectation.”

Scott Slauson
Scott Slauson

Scott Slauson

Age: 47

Party: Republican

Occupation: Software Engineer

Past political posts: Current BOE Member for 2.5 years

Why are you running for Board of Education?

“I’m a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and have served in local, state and national levels in the Marine Corps League, and Porsche Club of America. I’m also a long standing member of the American Legion and Marine Corps Association. I have put many years of volunteer service into all of these organizations. My wife April and I have two children currently in the Naugatuck School system. Mitchell attends Naugatuck High School and currently is a Rotary exchange student in Regensburg, Germany. My other son, Luke, attends City Hill Middle School. We moved to Naugatuck in 2005, however the Slauson roots go back in Connecticut to the beginning of Stamford in the early 1600s. The Slauson family also has ties to Bronson Tuttle who built the Tuttle House in which is the current location of the Board of Education. I have currently served on the Board of Education for the past two and half years. As a board, we have accomplished much in instituting savings by combining the municipality and Board of Education in many functions. These would include the attorneys, business manager and H&R director and other non-personnel matters. I have been involved on contract negotiations and believe that these have to be fair not only to the bargaining group, yet also to the district and taxpayers. We have also begun some large projects such as the Naugatuck High School renovation and security upgrading to existing schools.”

What can be done to improve/increase student achievement in Naugatuck?

What do you feel is the most important issue facing Naugatuck students today, and how will you address it? (Editor’s note: the following answer is for both the above questions.)

“Student achievement has been directly tied to one factor, a knowledgeable and skillful teacher by many studies. The Naugatuck school district has as a majority these teachers however they are ever more inundated with state and federal compliances that tend to hinder open and creative teaching. I believe that expanding and in certain areas redefining our curriculum can achieve this.”

How will you balance the needs of students with the needs of taxpayers come budget time?

“I would like to continue my service as a Board of Education member to see the Naugatuck High School renovation to its completion and continue with contract negotiations. The district has moved forward in the last couple of years and I would like to continue the momentum.”