Naugatuck BOE gets to work filling vacant position after resignation

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NAUGATUCK — Board of Education Vice Chair Marilyn ODonnell speaks at a special school board meeting alongside Board of Education Chairman Jeffrey Litke on July 14. Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News

By Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News

NAUGATUCK — Naugatuck Board of Education is looking to fill a vacancy after board member Aaron McCool stepped down earlier this month due to revelations of him sharing inappropriate photos of young girls about eight years ago surfaced online.

McCool, a Republican, initially refused to step down, saying he has changed, after he admitted he re-posted the improper photos. His attorney, Daniel Esposito, issued a press release informing the public that he would resign from his position.

The school board unanimously approved to accept McCool’s letter of resignation at its special meeting on Thursday, July 14.

One photo, shared to social media site Tumblr, shows a girl tied up by her ankles, legs and wrists with duct tape over her mouth. Another shows a girl with a shirt that reads “Work in Progress, Good to Go” with an arrow pointing down. A third photo shows a girl on a bike with the caption, “Jailbait because the best things in life are illegal.”

The Naugatuck Diversity Equity and Inclusion Education Committee launched an online petition last month on the website Change.org titled “Remove Aaron McCool From Naugatuck Board Of Education!” More than 1,100 people have signed the petition.

The school board began to post the vacancy on Monday, including on their website and social media.

Aaron McCool, a member of the Naugatuck Board of Education. Contributed

School officials are looking for candidates, who are 18 years of age and a registered Naugatuck voter, to send in their letters of interest, resumes and references through July 31 to school board secretary Francis Santana via francis.santana (at sign) naugatuck.k12.ct.us or via mail to 497 Rubber Ave, Naugatuck, CT 07670.

The next board member would be filling the unexpired term until November 2023 and can be from any political party, Board of Education Chair Jeffrey Litke said.

Litke asked board members during the special meeting to send him anything that needs be part of the board vacancy posting, as well as questions to be asked for the interview process. Each board member will be part of the interviews and will have the opportunity to ask questions, Litke added.

Superintendent of Schools Christopher Montini said board members are in charge of filling the vacancy.

“Our bylaws state that the board appoints a member to fill a vacancy, so there is no special election,” Litke said.

School board member Jason Celozzi said the board will choose the candidate that they feel will best serve the board.

“We’ve got to remember too, we’re not electing a board member. We’re electing somebody who’s covering. They will hold the same power and authority as a regular board member does but they’re not an official board member,” Celozzi said. “They’re literally a replacement and that’s why we get to vote on it versus the community.”