Wallingford election: Jennifer Passaretti candidate for board of directors

WALLINGFORD, CT – The 2021 municipal election is heating up in Wallingford with many races on the ballot.

Voters will go to the polls on Tuesday, November 2 and vote for the post of mayor, as well as seats on the city council and the board of education.

Wallingford Patch has asked candidates to answer questions about their campaigns and will post candidate profiles as Election Day approaches.

Republican Jennifer Passaretti, 49, is running for election to Wallingford’s board of directors.

Occupation: Head of the biology laboratory and assistant professor of biology

Family: Joseph (husband), Wesley (21), Allison (20) and Aaron (19)

To live: Commissioner of Wetlands and Inland Waters

Family in government: No

The biggest problem in town is ______, and I plan to do this about it:

Students facing post-COVID. Specifically its impact on the mental health of our children, which affects their engagement in school and with potential long-term consequences. We don’t really know how far the effects go. Children who appear to be doing well now may show signs of distress later after the pandemic resumes. I am therefore committed to supporting policies focused on the mental, emotional and social health of our students. Our Wallingford students deserve a learning environment where they feel supported and secure. With every decision I make, I will be aware of how this affects the holistic selves of our students.

Critical differences between me and my opponents:

I was in higher education for 18 years at the University of New Haven. I teach our first year biology course and am on the front lines of their transition to college.
I see the products of the education system from the other side and bring a unique perspective to help our students succeed after high school. I know what a successful freshman looks like. And I know that those who struggle are not prepared for college or that a 4 year college is not for them.

I’m less concerned with our college acceptance rates. I’m more interested in learning if these same students succeed a year after high school. As a community, we need to eliminate the negative stigma of a young person who does not choose a 4 year old college. As a board member, I will support ALL post-secondary pathways, including community college, vocational training, the military, or direct entry into the workforce.

Achievements:

I anticipate difficult choices in the next 2 years, especially with regard to the budget. Our education budget amounts to nearly $ 107 million, or 2/3 of our city’s overall budget.

Therefore, it is CRITICAL for a candidate for the Education Council to have a proven track record of being a good steward of a community’s hard earned money.

At the University, I am responsible for managing the department’s budgets, including all grants. As the finance director of an academic department, with previous experience as a church treasurer, I understand the balance between providing stakeholders with the necessary resources, while maintaining fiscal responsibility.

Other issues:

I am not convinced that a high school is the best for our children. But I promise to keep an open mind as we conduct our in-depth investigation. In the meantime, I would like to see improvements to our school infrastructure and more energy efficient capital projects.

What would you want voters to know about you?

As the daughter of a 3rd grade teacher (mom) and doctorate (dad), I was brought up with a passion for education. Education is who I am and it’s in my blood. I will work tirelessly to maintain this quality that sets Wallingford schools apart and supports a thriving community. I will be guided by what is best for our children, our community and our future. I have the tools to improve our schools, but I cannot do it from the outside. I can only do it from the inside and that’s why I have to be elected to the board of directors.


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