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Letter Supports Fairfield School Board Candidate

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – The following letter was submitted by Fairfield resident Trudi Durrell.

To the Editor:

On Nov. 8, I hope you will join me in voting for Jennifer Maxon Kennelly for the Board of Education. Jennifer has the experience, energy and enthusiasm to make appropriate decisions for Fairfield’s schools and students.

As a professional educator, Jennifer understands several issues facing all Connecticut and U.S. schools. She knows the specific details of the current State Department of Education mandates that local education agencies are bound to follow, including assessment demands, intervention-based instruction (SRBI) and the new anti-bullying law. She is an experienced teacher, currently employed as an English teacher at Greenwich High School. This provides first-hand, daily knowledge of how another highly rated school district prepares students to compete with Fairfield students for college admission and future success.

Furthermore, Jennifer has had the fortunate experience of being a school administrator as well as a teacher – an administrator who got results. As an administrator of a parochial school in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen plagued by a large annual deficit and declining enrollment, Jen had significant challenges to overcome. During her tenure there, Jen successfully closed the deficit and increased enrollment while helping raise standards that led to the school’s winning back accreditation.

Jen is known for looking holistically at a situation, defining the issues and establishing clear goals and developing and implementing a plan to achieve them. Not stopping there, Jen also goes that extra step to evaluate the results and determine subsequent objectives and steps. She has served as a volunteer for educational committees and activities, including Stratfield School’s PTA, the Board of Education’s Cultural Diversity Task Force, coaching Stratfield’s gold medal-winning Odyssey of the Mind 5th grade team and coaching basketball at her former school – in addition to being its administrator!

Jen uses her seemingly boundless energy to attack problems and get results. She brings people together to design creative, budget-conscious solutions to address concerns. For example, as chair of Stratfield’s Box Tops for Education Fundraising Committee, she organized a meeting of the individual Box Tops for Education Chairpersons to meet town-wide to compare strategies and techniques to increase participation by their student bodies. This led to increased fundraising for a program that helps pay for school supplies and activities. In addition, as a founding member of Fairfield BOE’s Cultural Diversity Task Force, Jen helped craft zero-budget efforts and creative strategies to locally reduce racial imbalance.

Finally, Jen and her husband have three children, all of whom attend Fairfield’s public schools. Thus, her family has a personal stake in our local schools – in seeing that not only does Fairfield offer the strongest curriculum possible, but that they are administered efficiently.

As an educator and administrator in another local school district and a former PTA BOE representative, I strive to find BOE candidates who are committed to providing a solid education for our town’s children. I search out candidates who clearly identify problems and face the challenges head-on, who appreciate the value of education, who are equipped with the necessary experience to be successful on the Board of Education.

Jennifer Maxon Kennelly possesses all of these qualities, and I urge you to join me in supporting her on Nov. 8.

Trudi Durrell

64 Woodcrest Road

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