Meet the Stafford Board of Education candidates

By Annie Gentile - ReminderNews
Stafford - posted Wed., Oct. 16, 2013
- Contributed Photo

Three full-term positions on the Board of Education will be elected this November, and representatives from the Republican, Democratic, and Open Parties are fielding candidates to fill them.

There are three slots for the full four-year term and the Republican Party is offering three challenging candidates for those terms - Andrea Locke, Amanda Butler and Erica Bushior. The party is also offering one challenging candidate, Earl Goodell, to fill one of the two slots left vacant by members of the board who resigned before their terms were up.

The Democratic Party is offering two candidates for the full-term positions -Anthony Frassinelli and Tracy Rummel - and Peter Kovaleski for the two-year vacancy term.

Open Party candidates for the full-term positions are Peter C. Gibbs, Salem Hadj-Salem, and Phillip Maynard. The Open Party is also endorsing Democrat Peter Kovaleski for the two-year term. Open Party Chairman Dock Sellers said his group has been trying to establish a viable party that can challenge both Democrats and Republicans. “We want to provide candidates that are open-minded and hopefully give residents a better choice,” Sellers said.



Anthony Frassinelli received his B.S. in economics from Southern Connecticut State University and is employed as a construction worker. He is a member of the Downtown Revitalization Committee, a town representative on the Cable Advisory Committee and served as campaign manager for a former first selectman.

Tracy Rummel is an incumbent for a four-year term and is looking forward to serving the town of another four years. She has served on the board for nine years and is currently the secretary. Along with her regular board commitments, she also serves as a delegate from Stafford on the Board of Directors at EASTCONN, a regional education service center.

Peter Kovaleski is an incumbent on the board and chairman of the board’s Policy Committee. He is seeking re-election for a two-year term. He is a professional consulting engineer and his background is in engineering, project management, infrastructure construction, contracting, budgeting and energy conservation projects. Kovaleski has been a key individual on Stafford Energy Advisor Committee projects, and his focus is on improving cost-saving measures. Cross-endorsed by the Open Party, Kovaleski is also a member of the Stafford Fire Department.



Andrea Q. Locke is a life-long resident of Stafford, married to John for 30 years and mother of two. Previously she was a cheerleading coach at Stafford High School, treasurer of the Staffordville PTSO, and a cheerleading coach at Ashford School. She was also a member of the Space Needs Committee and the School Building Committee. Locke is interested in being part of a group that is responsible for setting up and maintaining an effective, efficient organizational structure for the town’s schools.

Erica Bushior graduated from Stafford High School in 1997 and has lived in town most of her life. Now a married mother of three, she received her B.A. from Elms College in elementary education and math/computer science and returned to Stafford to teach at St. Edward’s School for three years and high school summer school in Stafford. She serves on the St. Edward’s School Board. Bushior completed her master’s degree in education from Eastern Connecticut State University and took additional course work at Quinnipiac University, where she obtained additional certification in mathematics.

Earl Gordon Goodell said he is running as a challenger on the school board for a two-year term because he is a taxpayer and retired electrician with experience in teaching trades in the last 10 years of his career. Goodell said he feels there is too much emphasis on training students for college and college only, and it is important to be an advocate for students who have a hard time mastering sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade math and science. “It’s all about doing the right thing for the student, the parents, and for the town,” h said.

Amanda Butler is running as a challenger on the school board mainly to show her children that a person can make a difference and education is an important first step. “I have two little guys. My oldest is 6 and attends West Stafford School, and my youngest is 3 and a half and will be starting school next September,” said Butler. “I’ve always been actively involved in my older son’s school work and I felt it was important to be actively involved and to help make sure that not only my kids, but all kids in Stafford have every opportunity to have all they need in life to succeed.” While Butler said she identifies first and foremost as a wife and mother, she also has a nearly 20-year career as a buyer. “My job as a buyer is to make sure to get goods with the right value, the right service, and at the right price, and I frequently negotiate these things minding that bottom line.”


Open Party:

Peter C. Gibbs said that several years ago the town of Stafford miscalculated its tax rate and collected an extra half million dollars from local taxpayers, and after realizing the error proceeded to spend it. “I decided at the time that Town Hall needed help and I would volunteer,” said Gibbs. “I would be honored to serve my fellow citizens as either town clerk or on the school board,” he said.

Phillip Maynard said he is running for a seat on the Board of Education because he is not happy with the standards-based education reform movement, known as the Common Core. “I feel that education should be run by individual state and local governments,” said Maynard. A long-time employee with the Department of Corrections who has also served in various positions over the last nine years working with Stafford Little League, Maynard said he is nearing retirement and will soon have more time to give to the town. “I’m an Open Party candidate but a fiscal conservative. I feel we need to have more accountability, and I want to do the best I can for the town,” he said.

Salem Hadj-Salem, a challenger for a seat on the Board of Education, is a Stafford resident and homeowner for many years in town whose children were also educated in Stafford. Open Party Chairman Dock Sellers said Salem also serves as a chaplain at one of Connecticut’s state prisons and wants the opportunity to give back to the town that has given him so much.

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