Nicola Tarzia (R)

Stamford Board of Education

Founder, The Tarzia Group, specializing in building services, former Board of Education member (2 terms)

We have kids graduating with below average literacy and mathematics levels. The ACHIEVEMENT GAPS show we are not helping ALL students. We must find out why and hold the central office accountable. Teachers are leaving at unbelievable rates while there is a teacher shortage. Our facilities are being unattended to as only 50 A/C units installed causing schools to close for half days.

But I might say the greatest challenge is to get the current board members to focus on the betterment of our children, families, and staff instead of playing politics. Our education standards are declining fast and instead of doing what is best for ALL the children in Stamford, the board seems to use politics in place of policies that will help the families of our community. I have been known to work with members regardless of the party to get what is needed done and quickly. The board must get back to, “We are here for you.”

To classify something as minor is disingenuous as it may seem minor to one but maybe major to someone else. The morale of teachers should be addressed rather quickly. If we have no teachers, then we have no schools. If we have no schools, then we don’t educate our children. This would be a detriment to our kids, families, and our future of America.

We should have BOE subcommittees, like regular meetings, translated into Spanish and Creole so ALL families to hear what is being discussed and get involved.
Parents should be 100% involved in their children’s education. There are statistics that show that when children have engaged parents, their scores are higher than those who don’t. This is where we need to provide transparency into the curriculum so that parents are aware of what is being taught and why it is being taught.

This should be clear for ALL students (children with special needs, ELL, and including parents). If parents are unfamiliar with the curriculum, they will have a hard time supporting the success of their child. We, as a district, should be holding community outreach along with video tutorials about the curriculum to help educate our families and build the trust that we are providing a good quality education that is focused on teaching our children of Stamford.

This question is great because as board members, we should also take input from the families of Stamford because we are so diverse. I have and will continue to talk to families of all ethnic backgrounds and religions to take their concerns and needs into consideration when making decisions for their children.
The Board of Education does cross over from different city boards including the mayor’s office. We work with Finance Board, Education Committee on the Board of Representatives, Director of Parks & Recreations, SEA, Central Office, and as mentioned the mayor’s office.

To help with our school facilities, we need to work with the mayor’s office as they own the buildings. However, the Board of Education is responsible for the upkeep of the school facilities. We will need to work with the teachers' union when trying to negotiate contracts to help retain our staff. We need to work with the Board of Finance to ensure our budgets are approved and advocate for the money that is needed to help our children get the appropriate materials to
succeed, which includes para-educators and media specialists.

There is a good balance of checks and balances but there are always areas we can improve upon. I don’t believe there are redundancies in a negative sense but improves upon the checks and balances needed to provide quality education to our 16,000+ students.
This referendum does not affect the Board of Education. My advice is to look at the referendum, then those that support and those that don’t, and make up your mind for yourself. I don’t want to tell you how to vote, so I will not be telling you to vote for a row or a letter.

I ask that you talk to me and let me know what your concerns are so that we can address the concerns of the families here in Stamford and build a better future. This is about #studentsfirst and making sure we change the board over the past 10+ years of the one-party control and make it more balanced by voting for myself (Nicola Tarzia) and Michael Arcano to the board; not because I am telling you to but I am asking you. We want to help our students, families, and teachers succeed.