For the first time in over a decade, there will be a contested election for Darien’s Board of Education.
Both major parties have put up two candidates for three seats up this November. Only one candidate is an incumbent — and she also happens to be the board’s chairman.
Long-time Board of Education members said while they can recall a primary for board seats, they can’t recall a contested election on the Board of Education back as far as 2000. The Democrats are also running a candidate for state representative in the 141st District, which is most of Darien and parts of Norwalk, including Rowayton. There hasn’t been a race for that seat since 2004.
GOP Board of Ed member Amy Bell opted not to run again after serving one term on the board. She was hired earlier this month as executive director of the Darien Community Association.
Democrat George Reilly, a 10-year Board of Education veteran, also opted to not seek re-election in November.
The third seat up for election is occupied by Chairman Betsy Hagerty-Ross, whose is seeking re-election this year.
The Republican Town Committee nominated Hagerty-Ross to her fourth Board of Education term this week. Hagerty-Ross succeeded former Board of Education Chairman Kim Westcott, who opted not to seek re-election last November.
Hagerty-Ross has a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in accounting from St. John’s University.
She is a 19-year Darien resident and has prior corporate experience in investment banking and financial control, and has been involved with various other volunteer work in town.
The RTC also nominated Sara Schneider-Zuro for the Board of Education.
Zuro, an 11-year Darien resident, is a graduate of Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and holds both a master’s degree in arts and in education from the Teachers College, Columbia University.
She is a former teacher and school administrator in the Ossining, N.Y. school district and past Council of Darien School Parents budget rep for the Holmes School.
The Democratic Town Committee nominated two candidates for the board this week at its caucus, also held Wednesday night.
Patty McCormick, and 11-year Darien resident, was board president of the Community Cooperative Nursery School in Rowayton, and continues to serve as board-member-at-large.
She is room mother for her son’s Ox Ridge kindergarten class, a Girl Scout troop leader, serves on the executive PTO board as community relations chairman, and is a budget representative for the Council of Darien School Parents.
McCormick is also co-director of the Darien/Norwalk YWCA’s Parent Awareness Network.
McCormick has a background in hospitality in Los Angeles, Palo Alto, and New York, and also previously had her own catering business in town.
She studied creative writing and theology at Loyola-Marymount University, Los Angeles.
Katie Stein, a 10-year Darien resident, received a law degree from Fordham University Law School, where she was a Public Interest Scholar, and her bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College.
She worked as a paralegal at Skadden, Arps and for the Manhattan District Attorney’s office before attending law school.
After graduation, Stein worked as a staff attorney for Sanctuary for Families Legal Center, the largest U.S. provider of legal services for victims of domestic violence and sex trafficking.
After Sanctuary, Stein has volunteered in a variety of Darien organizations. She led the YWCA Gala in 2003 and 2004 and ran the Baby Basics program from 2003-05, and is the co-chairman of the Parent Teachers Association at Tokeneke School.
Stein also joined the boards of both Sanctuary for Families and the Darien YMCA.
In addition to the Board of Ed candidates, the DTC also nominated former Board of Finance and Town Pension Board member Kathy Hammell for its registrar of voters.
Hammel is a long-time active town Democrat, having served on various campaigns, worked the polls and done election day calls.
She has degrees in chemistry and finance, as well as an extensive town volunteering background.
The DTC also nominated John Davis, Ann Mandel, Enid Oresman, Sunil Saksena, Anne Shaw, Charlotte Suhler, Barbara and Marc Thorne, Arlene Tulacro, and Georgia Ann von Schmidt for justices of the peace.
The RTC nominated 25-year Darien resident Keri Glick for the registrar of voters.
Glick has a degree in marketing and management from Bentley College. She has also held sales and marketing positions in various corporations, small businesses and non-profits.
The RTC also appointed the following for justices of the peace: Eugene F. Coyle, Janet F. Grogan, Robert F. Harrel, Jr., Cathy A. Hauck, Eric H. Joosten, Marian T. Persico, Brian J. Rayhill, Carolyn P. Schoonmaker, Alfred P. Tibbetts, and Terrie E. Wood.