The board held its annual election of officers during a meeting Wednesday night. Bernstein was nominated by Stowe to serve his fourth term as chair.
Six of the board’s eight members voted in favor of Bernstein, while members Karen Kowalski and Peter Sherr abstained from voting. (To sign up for Greenwich breaking news alerts and more, click here.)
Following his reelection, Bernstein said he felt the decision was “a good reflection” of the core group of board members that continue to drive positive change for the district.
“This is my fourth year as chair,” Bernstein said, “and I am glad to be in a position to help provide stability to the board and Superintendent [Toni Jones], especially as we had four new members join the board a year ago. Those members have certainly stepped up and are the future of the board, and we will be well-positioned for the future thanks to them.”
Board members also voted to reelect Stowe as vice chair and Karen Hirsh as board secretary, with Kowalski and Sherr again abstaining from voting on vice chair. Stowe said she was “quite pleased” with her reelection.
“Now, more than ever, I think it’s helpful to have the same leadership team during a pandemic,” Stowe said. “Peter and my proven bipartisan leadership will continue to serve our schools and the community well.”
Earlier this month, Stowe ran for election in the race for the 149th House District seat, however she ultimately lost to Republican candidate.
“It was a great opportunity to interact with many members of the community,” Stowe said, “and to be reminded of how much support there is for our town and school system.”
Hirsh joked during meeting that “nobody else seems to want” the job of secretary, and Bernstein encouraged her to “keep taking those great minutes.”
Bernstein was first elected as chair in 2017, making this his fourth term serving in the position. He has served as a board member for seven years.
He noted there was currently no “number one goal” he hoped to accomplish during this term.
“After seven years as a board member, I can easily say there is never just one goal,” Bernstein said. “There are always multiple priorities, and we are lucky to have Superintendent Toni Jones helping us move these priorities forward. We certainly have a full plate this year, with a special education audit, remote learning, curriculum and text book reviews, and so much more on the operations side. There are also a number of capital projects in various stages of completion. On top of all of that we are in the middle of budget planning for the 2021-2022 school year.”
As the town continues to grapple with the coronavirus, Bernstein noted students’ health and safety is the most pressing issue currently facing Greenwich schools.
“With [the coronavirus], we are certainly focused on the health and safety of our students,” Bernstein said, “however we can’t lose focus on ensuring students are achieving to the best of their abilities, whether those students are in-person or remote [learning].”
He also praised students and staff for doing their part to ensure a safe environment for students to continue quality in-person learning this academic year.
“Our administrators and teachers have certainly risen to the unique challenges this year has presented,” Bernstein said, “and the students have been amazing with compliance, wearing masks and other mitigation controls to keep them safe as they navigate their learning.”
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