It's hard to believe that my first term on the Board of Education is coming to a close. It's been an exciting and educational first term.
If you're new here, for over 15 years, I was involved with the Wallingford Public Schools. With 3 children in the schools, I participated in the PTO, worked book fairs, helped in classrooms, been on countless field trips and helped with field day. But the most important part of those 15 years was acting as an advocate for my children. I often told my children’s teachers that it was not their job to educate my children – it was also my job. I saw myself as part of the team in providing a solid education. As my children were nearing the end of their educational journey, I felt it was a good time for me to focus on being an advocate for the rest of the children of Wallingford.
As chair of the Operations Committee for the Board, I'm constantly learning about budgeting and getting a first-hand look at all the work (and money) it takes to keep our schools running. While I am for a single high school, I understand the challenges it brings. All of our schools need to be upgraded and I look forward to working on implementing a strategic facilities plan for all of our schools.
The mission statement for Wallingford Public Schools is “To inspire through innovative and engaging experiences that lead all learners to pursue and discover their personal best.”
My 20 years in the technology industry can help achieve that mission. I want to explore technology and tools that not only to help our students develop and embrace their unique learning styles but help teachers provide that experience. Serving on the BOE provides me an opportunity to listen and advocate for all the teachers working so hard for their students to succeed.
Good evening, my name is Donna Regan. Thank you to the Wallingford Community Women for providing me the opportunity to speak. I’ve lived in Wallingford for over 20 years with my husband and have educated 3 children in the Wallingford Public School system. I work for a large insurance company in Hartford as a marketing partner supporting their insurtech initiative. I have over 20 years of experience in technology marketing.
I have been active in scouting for 15 years and an active member of St. Paul’s Episcopal church where I have held a variety of positions, including being the chair of a capital campaign committee that successfully reached a lofty goal for pledges during the pandemic – all done virtually. I have traveled to Nicaragua twice to participate in a clean water program through El Porvenir. I serve on the board of a family run foundation dedicated to serving the needs of our service veterans. Volunteering is in my nature.
Each Board of Ed candidate has their own reason for running. Personally, now that my children are no longer in the system, I feel I can give back to the school system that educated my children. I have over 15 years of experience in our schools. I was active in the PTO, volunteered at school events, and helped in the classrooms. But I also have experience with 504 plans, IEP’s and PPT’s. I have worked tirelessly to be an advocate for my children to allow them to learn in their own unique way. I have seen firsthand the struggles and successes of students through the eyes of my children. I want to use that experience to enhance our special services and help parents navigate through the process.
There’s a lot of discussions out there about masks and vaccinations. Are they important issues? Yes. Should the board be listening? Yes. While I absolutely believe parents and teachers should have the right to choose when it comes to those issues, I want to focus on the issues that the board can control.
The board has the responsibility of a massive budget – it’s 2/3 of the entire town budget. That’s a big responsibility to manage. We need to balance being fiscally responsible with being good stewards of our school system.
I’d like to look at how to improve test scores and how to address bullying. And after a difficult year with a lot of uncertainty, what can we do to promote emotional health for our students and staff.
How do we explore new technology and opportunities to learn? How can we provide a quality educational opportunity to students who do not choose to attend a college or university?
That’s a lot of different topics and I certainly don’t expect to solve all of them. But I look forward to participating in the conversations around them.
There’s also the elephant in the room – the consolidation of schools. I honestly cannot speak to whether I would endorse a single school or continue with our current two school system. But I’m open to hearing what the data tells us. It’s a passionate issue within Wallingford but it needs to be conversation and not argument. I will absolutely stand up for what I feel is right based on the data. In the end, I would support what would be financially best for our schools and town.
As a member of the board, I want to learn, investigate, and question – not simply go with the flow and accept everything put in front of me. If I’ve learning anything from marketing, it’s that you need to look beyond the “fluff” in order to make an educated decision.
Being a part of the Board of Education does not give me a platform to pursue my own agenda – it is an opportunity to be part of a team. Our goal should be to enhance the learning opportunities for all students in Wallingford, listen to the concerns of the parents and work with the teachers and staff. Thank you for your time and I would appreciate your vote on November 2nd.