Sara Parent is a Democratic candidate for the Board of Education.

Tell us about yourself.

My husband and I moved to Darien in 2009. We have two children, one at Holmes and one at Middlesex. I have a master’s degree in curriculum and teaching from Teachers College at Columbia University and have taught elementary school in both Connecticut and New York. I have been co-chairman of the Holmes School PTO and co-chairman of the Council of Darien School Parents. I am a current member of the district’s Strategic Planning Committee and the RTM.

Why do you want to serve on the Board of Education?

Through my leadership roles in town, I have been a part of the Board of Education meetings for the past five years. I feel strongly that the perspective of an educator, which I have, is missing from the board’s discussions. The board needs to focus on keeping Darien’s children and educational best practices at the forefront of every decision.

In what ways or what ideas do you have to improve the board?

I would like the Board of Education to be more accessible to the Darien residents. While all documents and meetings are available to the public, many people in Darien do not follow the good work of the board. There has been much more engagement over these past seven months because of the pandemic, and I would like to see that continue. There is a lot of work for the board to do in the coming months and years, and public opinion should be a valued part of that work. The board should work to find ways to keep Darien residents involved and engaged.

What is your position on school regionalization?

I am opposed to mandated school regionalization. In 2019, I traveled to Hartford to testify against the regionalization bills on behalf of Darien’s children in front of the Education Committee of the Connecticut General Assembly. Local control of schools is important to me.

What do you think the most important goal you have to achieve by serving on the Board of Education?

My top priority will always be creating the best educational experiences for every learner in each of our schools. A specific goal of mine is to develop a real plan for the removal of the portable classrooms at our elementary schools, and to ensure our district’s schools are appropriately sized for their populations.

What is your view on the role the board plays in terms of the administration?

The Board of Education sets the goals and policies for the district. The board’s role is to ensure that the Administration is properly implementing those policies and creating pathways for the board’s goals to be met. There is a clear difference between the work of the board and the operational work of the Administration and staff.

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?

There is no room for personality conflicts or control issues on the Board of Education. That is a disservice to the children of Darien. The nine members of the board are elected to guide our schools towards excellence and should remain professional and respectful of each other at all times. Differing opinions are important and should be encouraged. The best decisions are made after all voices are heard.

Finally, why should Darien vote for you?

I have the educational experience and expertise needed to guide our district through these challenging times and beyond. I am an independent and critical thinker who will always do what is in the best interests of Darien’s children and families.