New Chair, Vice Chair Elected By Ellington Board of Education | #Education

ELLINGTON, CT — The recent appointment of Ellington Board of Education chairman Michael Purcaro to vice chair of the Board of Finance prompted an election of new school board officers Wednesday.

Vice chair Jennifer Dzen will be the new chair and Michael Young was named vice chair. Purcaro will leave the board effective March 17, after serving since 2013.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the Ellington community on the Board of Education,” Purcaro said. “I firmly believe that our schools are at the heart of our community, and that the partnership between the local government and public school system is critically important to the overall sustainability of Ellington. I look forward to continuing to serve our community and working closely with the Board of Education and the school administration in my new role as the vice chairman of the town of Ellington Board of Finance.

“Jen Dzen is an exceptional leader who puts students first. Her vision as board chair builds off our successes and moves the district forward in preparing all students academically and socially to approach life’s challenges with vigor and confidence. I have the utmost admiration and respect for our dedicated school staff and praise them for the amazing work they do each and every day to educate our students, especially throughout the pandemic. A special thank you to Dr. Scott Nicol, Superintendent of Schools and all of the central administration staff for their valuable leadership and management of our cherished school district.”

Dzen has served on the board since 2017, effectively leading during the current pandemic.

“Mr. Pucaro will be greatly missed,” Dzen said. “His knowledge base, professionalism, tenacity and skill sets helped the Ellington Public Schools navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. As we look forward, we are excited and privileged to have Dr. Michael Young as our new vice chair. Dr. Young’s strength in curriculum and instruction keeps our focus moving forward to the next best learning techniques and strategies, while his longevity on the board offers continuity of leadership. With the new leadership in place and the 2021-22 Board of Education budget submitted to the town for review, our focus is the vaccination of our staff. With local and state lobbying taking place, we are hopeful the timeline will move up for these essential workers.”

Young has served on the board since 2010 and is currently chair of the curriculum committee.

“I am happy to assume the responsibilities of vice chair of the Ellington Board of Ed,” Young said. “I look forward to supporting Jen Dzen in her new role as board chair and working with Superintendent Nicol to welcome all our students back to full-time in-person learning. During this past year of emergency pivot to remote learning due to COVID-19, we have all learned many new 21st century digital work and learning skills that will help us advance Ellington schools. While it has been limited in many ways, this has by no means been a lost year. Guided by its mission to put students first, the Ellington Board and administration have worked to implement new courses, new data visualization systems, and implemented new staffing models to ensure that Ellington tax dollars are spent strategically and efficiently. It is an honor to continue to be part of this process of continuous school improvement.”

Liz Nord will continue as board treasurer and finance committee chair, Jennifer Mullin as communications committee chair, Kerry Socha as operations committee chair and Kris Picard-Wambolt as chair of the policy committee.

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