Jackie Heftman (D)

Stamford Board of Education, Special Election

President Stamford Board of Education (completing 5th term); previously Chairwoman of Stamford Zoning Board and Urban Redevelopment Commission, Parent Teacher Council president; current Executive Committee member Stamford Cradle to Career

Our greatest challenge is fulfilling our mission to provide an education that cultivates productive habits of mind, body and heart in every student. There are no quick fixes in education. It takes consistent leadership, focused work by dedicated administrators, teachers, paraprofessionals, and support staff to address the many needs of a diverse school system like SPS. We are fortunate to have those people working here.

On October 1, SPS launched a new portal which gives parents access to all curricula in all subject content areas for their students. Parents are encouraged to reach out to their building principal with any questions they may have. SPS has established a district wide curriculum committee consisting of administrators, teachers, paraprofessional, and parents. I believe the superintendent has been responsive to the areas of focus described in the Curriculum Audit, and I have no suggestions at this time.
Yes, I believe the work of the BOE is well-integrated with other city boards. The superintendent, and her staff regularly appear before the Boards of Finance and Representatives. As Board president, I also attend their meetings when invited. Collaboration between the different boards is important especially during budget deliberations. There are adequate checks and balances because State law defines the role and responsibility of the Board of Education while the Stamford Charter requires adherence to the Code of Ethics, and dependence on the city for purchasing and payroll functions.
I do not support the proposed charter revisions. I believe the process was illegitimate from the beginning as the commission was stacked with members to ensure a preordained outcome. There are hundreds of proposed changes all rolled into one omnibus question effectively rendering it impossible for most voters to know what they are voting on. If these are important changes, voters should be allowed to vote each change up or down. I believe the electorate is capable of understanding the proposed changes when educated as to what they are, however, the commission and the Board of Representatives did not take the time necessary to do that. Sadly, their outreach was the bare minimum done in order to satisfy the letter of the law, but not the spirit of the law.

I do not believe the BOE will be affected in any negligible way by the proposed changes, but there could be language buried somewhere that I am not aware of.