A Q and A with Board of Education candidate Michael Burke.
Michael Burke is a Democratic incumbent candidate to the Board of Education.
Tell us about yourself.
I am a senior trial attorney for a law firm in New York. My wife Kathleen and I moved here with our twin sons, Matthew and Nolan, in 2008. They are seniors at Darien High School. Before serving on the Board of Education, I was a member of the RTM and a member of the Education Committee.
Why do you want to serve on the Board of Education?
I seek re-election because being on the board is incredibly fulfilling. We all cherish our children and their futures. We all know that superior education is the key to opening the doors of opportunity, exploration and engagement. Ensuring all of our learners obtain this vital key is an amazing feeling.
3. In what ways or what ideas do you have to improve the board?
We have to do a better job letting our constituents know what the role and responsibilities of the board are. Also, we must work to help the district communicate more effectively with parents.
4. What is your position on school regionalization?
I do not see it as appropriate for Darien. Decisions related to Darien schools are best left to the citizens of Darien. That said, if we can find a way to achieve savings through shared purchasing that should be pursed.
5. What do you think the most important goal you have to achieve by serving on the Board of Education?
As we navigate through COVID, my first goal is to keep our children safe. With safety addressed, we have to assess any educational gaps our children may have encountered and develop means and methods to fill them. Finally, we have to continue to move though our plan to improve facilities. The portables have to go! We also must examine busing guidelines.
6. What is your view on the role the board plays in terms of the administration?
The board reviews each course of action and budget proposal made by the administration to ensure they are consistent with and advance the goals and objectives we create. We listen, we question and we vote. It is then our role to make sure the administration has all necessary and proper resources to get their work done.
7. This has been a challenging election and reopening season. If you are elected or re-elected to the board, how do you plan to work with your fellow board members to ensure open communication and cohesiveness among board members?
I have a demonstrated history of working positively with my fellow board members and if I am re-elected, that will continue. I am never troubled when there is disagreement because people of good faith can have different views. This is especially so in the area of educating our children where our choices are so critical. If all of us on the BOE approach our work with integrity, transparency, and fidelity of purpose, we will always make the best decisions possible.
8. Finally, why should Darien vote for you?
I am proud of our achievements during my tenure on the board. Fitch academy, technology advancement, negotiating responsible teacher contracts, creating dynamic curriculum, advocating for budgets that put our children first, building new facilities and finally installing lights. All of these achievements have made this district among the best in the country.
But I run not because of the achievements of the past but rather the challenges ahead. We must continue to operate our schools safely and reimagine them so that while we hopefully return to normalcy, we are ready for any eventuality. I have done this work. I know what is required. I have put our children first. Vote for me on November 3 and I will continue to do so.