Candidates for the Hebron and RHAM Boards of Education
By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Hebron - posted Tue., Oct. 22, 2013
Meet the candidates for the Hebron and RHAM Boards of Education.
Ramon W. Bieri – Hebron BOE - Democrat
Bieri is the Owner of AgeWell Health,LLC, and currently serves as secretary for the Hebron Democratic Town Committee. He has served two terms as the chair of University City Educational Foundation. Bieri holds an A.S. in Human Biology from S.D. Mesa CC and a B.S. in Kinesiology, San Diego. Bieri has served locally as a volunteer Hebron soccer coach. He has also served on the Board of Directors for the American Kinesiotherapy Association, and is an active member of the American College of Sports Medicine. Bieri believes a great educational system fosters creative minds and builds a strong foundation for our community and society. As a member of the Board of Education, he will contribute to the development of building strong relationships with Hebron's teachers, administrators and parents to maintain our schools and their high academic integrity.
Carol A. Connolly – Hebron BOE - Democrat
Connolly is committed to serving the Hebron community and pledges to: (1) promote world-class education for our children,(2) work with the school administration to ensure our schools are safe,(3) promote early childhood education, (4) support teachers and paraprofessionals, and (5) invest in new technology through grant funding. Connolly believes in the three T’s – trust, teamwork, and transparency. She is the proud mother to two sons, Sean and Brendan. She is also a lawyer, an Army wife, and currently the vice president of the Hebron Education Foundation, a non-profit organization in town, which she co-founded. Connolly is currently an in-house attorney at Pratt & Whitney and a member of the Church of the Holy Family. Previously, she was an Assistant Attorney General for the District of Columbia, an adjunct lecturer at The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, a public defender in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and a special assistant to the press department in the White House.
Erica E. Bromley – Hebron BOE – Democrat
Bromley is the director of the Youth Service Bureau and has held this position for 14 years in two municipalities (currently in Manchester, prior to that in Windsor Locks). She is the current vice president of the Conn. Youth Services Association representing over 100 Youth Service Bureaus across the state. Bromley has extensive experience and works with the State Department of Education as well as with local school districts. Bromley's educational background includes a master's degree in social work. She has knowledge of, experience in, and passion for working with children and their families. Bromley was the RHAM youth girls' lacrosse coordinator for over 7 years.
Joseph O’Connor – RHAM BOE – Democrat
O'Connor is the director of aviation for a large corporate flight department located at Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford, Mass. He has lived in Hebron for 10 years along with his wife, Joanne ,and three children who all attend RHAM. His relevant experience includes: Bombardier Aerospace Advisory Committee, Solairus Aviation Standards & Safety Committee, Solairus Aviation Company Check Airman & Training Officer. O'Connor served on the Board of Directors for the Irish American Home Society in Glastonbury. He has also served the community as an Eagle Scout, a volunteer head coach and assistant coach for Hebron youth baseball, and assistant coach for Hebron travel basketball for both boys and girls. He is a member of the Church of the Holy Family, the RHAM Sports Boosters and chairman of the field improvement committee, which was formed earlier this year to restore and improve the RHAM athletic fields and facilities maintenance with the emphasis on safety. He believes in the value of a public education and its role in strengthening our society and that strong schools make strong communities. As a member of the RHAM Board of Education, he will be committed to maintaining the reputation of excellence in student education and achievement, while being responsive to the community’s need for prudent management of their tax dollars.
Kevin Williams – RHAM BOE – Republican
Williams became a member of the RHAM BOE last year to fill a vacancy. “During that time, I have pushed for improvements in the communication processes between the district and the community it serves,” he said. “We launched a new website at the start of this year, and also launched a mobile version of PowerSchool which allows parents to track everything from student grades to attendance in real time on their mobile device. Most recently, I was elected to serve as vice-chair of the Board until our next officer elections in December,” said Williams.
Williams is the director of customer excellence for American Express Global Corporate Payments. He is a past member of the Hebron CIP Committee and the Hebron Volunteer Fire Department.
He believes there is still significant work the Board needs to do in communications with the community and organizations. Most importantly, he wants to drive ways the board can ensure there is full transparency and accountability across all levels of the district. He sees the upcoming year as one of the most challenging terms the RHAM Board has faced in several years, with enormous pressure to ensure the district has the resources needed to implement education reform legislation handed down by the State of Connecticut.
Val Dalton – RHAM BOE – Republican
Dalton is a Hebron resident (14 years) and proud wife and mother to five children, all of whom have either graduated from, or are still in, the RHAM school system. Prior to moving to Connecticut, she was a pediatric nurse; at present, she is a stay-at-home mother. She is past-president of the Hebron Youth Baseball/Softball Association (2005-2012), where she collaborated on a regular basis with parents, students and school district officials. As president, she sought to expand the league and make it a permanent fixture in the community by emphasizing transparency, collaboration and accountability. At present, she serves as president of Tri-County Baseball (2011- present).
Some important issues facing the RHAM school district at the present time are discussions regarding discontinuing class ranking and improving existing athletic facilities. While she supports the latter, she is opposed to the former, but remains open to exploring this possibility with the rest of the board.
Fiscal issues will likely also occupy the board’s time. While financial conditions have improved for the general population, she is keenly aware that the board must allocate its fiscal resources wisely, in a manner that would avoid the need for any property tax increases. If elected, Dalton will work with board members to continue to contain administrative costs and maximize investment in the classroom. Finally, it should be said that civility in public discourse has too often been absent. Dalton hopes to restore the public’s confidence in the board by avoiding the vituperative rhetoric that too often characterizes political debate in this country. Instead, she will do what she says most politicians can’t seem to do: listen and learn.
Richard Jacobson – RHAM BOE - Republican
Jacobson has been a resident of Hebron since 2005. He worked in Mass. as a computer engineer for over 20 years before retiring from engineering. He is currently the owner and operator of Rich’s Reputable Contracting. Jacobson is married with three children. His oldest son just graduated from RHAM and is attending the University of Hartford. He has a son who is a freshman at RHAM and a daughter who just entered the RHAM middle school. Jacobson has volunteered as a soccer coach, a baseball coach, and a Boy Scout leader. He is a member of the parents’ group that organized RHAM Cleanup Day.
Jacobson identifies five major issues of concern for RHAM in the near future: facilities maintenance, fiscal responsibility, educational paradigm changes, communication and community. He feels that the RHAM Board needs to make it easier for the public to be involved at the meetings and in general, and improve relations between the school and its towns. “We should encourage RHAM to work closely with the towns to find solutions that are best for the whole community, not just RHAM,” he said.