Meet the candidates for Enfield Board of Education

By Lisa Stone - ReminderNews
Enfield - posted Thu., Oct. 31, 2013
Contributed
- Contributed Photo

The Enfield municipal elections will be held on Nov. 5, and the newly-elected officers will begin their terms on Nov. 12. Meet your local candidates for Board of Education:

Democrats:

Stacy Thurston has worked in the Enfield public schools as a paraprofessional and a substitute teacher. Thurston has served as a BOE member from 2009 to 2011. “I am able to understand both sides and make decisions that will benefit the students and the staff,” Thurston said. “I’m looking forward to turning our schools into an effective and secure learning environment for our students as well as staff.” Thurston is currently working as a social worker and holds a BA from Westfield State University.

Incumbent Vincent Grady is seeking his fourth term on the BOE. As a firefighter, Brady is in charge of teaching the third-graders the Fire Prevention Classes for the past nine years. “This has allowed me to see the needs of the district. I have also served as a fire commissioner for several years and this has given me an understanding of fiscal responsibility,” he said. “I want to be sure that the students get the right tools for a great education, while being fiscally smart.”

Incumbent Tina LeBlanc is ready for another term on the BOE. “As someone that is currently serving on the BOE, I am proud of the work we have done in advancing the needs of Enfield’s students,” she said. “As someone with financial background, I understand that we have to spend each dollar in education wisely, but that investing in our children is always a good investment.” LeBlanc is a financial analyst. She has her associate’s of science business administration from Bay Path College.

Incumbent Timothy F. Neville has been the chairman for the BOE for two years. He has 38 years of experience as a history and special education teacher as well as the housemaster and principal of JFK Middle School. Neville is retired from teaching as well as being a principal. He holds a BA from Holy Cross College, and an MS in special education from Southern Connecticut State University.

Vincent Weseliza is a new candidate for the BOE. Weseliza said, “While I have not held a political office, I do have an understanding of public service and government. I have been following the BOE meetings, getting involved as an advocate to maintain Fermi as a school, possibly our middle school. Outside views are an important component of the government process.”


Republicans:

David R. Bouley is the co-founder of Sam’s Soldiers, parent volunteer for Enfield Montessori School, volunteer for Enfield Fourth of July Festival, foster parent for Southern Jewel Dog Rescue and Ruff Start Happy Tails and is currently serving on the Republican Town Committee. “I want to be more involved in the responsible allocation of resources within our education budget. We need to make sure that every dime spent is making a positive impact on the student experience,” he said.

Incumbent Peter Jonaitis is seeking a seat on the Board of Education for his third term. Jonaitis was a teacher in Enfield for 37 years, a member of Negotiation Teams and Educational Committees, the Enfield Republican Committee and a coach for Enfield youth teams. “I wish to be involved with the future use of Fermi High. There has been no serious discussion on this matter. I will push for the elimination of armed guards in our schools. I am very concerned about the costly expansion of administration at the Central Office,” he said.

David Wawer is a Registrar of Voters for the town, and is also seeking a seat on the Board of Education. “On Election Day, I will not be serving as Registrar of Voters because I am a candidate for Board of Education,” he said. “For purposes of Election Day, I am just a candidate for office and a citizen.” He will retain the position of Registrar of Voters after the election. Besides his town job, Wawer is the CEO of Trade Association. He is currently on the Board of Directors for the North Central Health Department. Wawer has held other positions with the NCHD such as bylaws committee chairman. Among several other affiliations, he has been on the Enfield Board of Education’s Audit Committee from 2007 through 2008. He holds a B.A. in Urban Studies from the University of Connecticut.

Lori Unghire is bringing her experience as an art teacher, home school teacher and author to the table. She is the Enfield Republican Town Committee’s district captain. She is a member of the Fourth of July Committee, Big Brothers and Big Sisters organization, and Voices, Inc., among several other committees and organizations. “There should be local control of Enfield’s education,” she said. “We must achieve the Board’s goals by respecting taxpayers through prudent use of our financial resources.”

Incumbent Thomas Sirard is seeking re-election for the Board of Education. Sirard is a United States Navy submarine veteran. He is also on the board at ITN North Central Connecticut and he is a member of the Enfield Republican Town Committee. Sirard is a graduate of U.S. Naval Nuclear Power School in 1986. “If I were re-elected, I would continue to be a voice of common sense on the Board and continue to expand communication to ensure all the stake-holders in education have input in key decisions,” he said.


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