Thank you for being an informed, responsible voter! Here is some information about my platform.
I always prefer to speak to constituents directly about the issues of Wallingford. So be sure to reach out to me so that we can chat over the phone or in person.
Why Board of Ed?
I have been a proud resident of Wallingford for 20 years. During that time, my focus has been on raising 3 children to be independent and self-sufficient. It has always been my goal to someday run for the Board of Education. Our youngest started college this fall, I am ready to roll up my sleeves and commit my talent and efforts to the future of Wallingford’s students.
A town’s value is determined by the quality of its schools. I want to be a part of keeping Wallingford’s schools successful and competitive. Our school system has always been a source of pride for our beloved Wallingford, representing one of the leading reasons why people are moving here. People recognize that their children will receive an exceptional public education, one that rivals almost any private school option. I will work tirelessly to maintain that quality which sets us apart and lends support to a thriving community.
I LOVE our town and I love serving our community. I am a full voting member of the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission. During the pandemic, I served as a Chaplain to provide emotional and spiritual care to the nurses and healthcare staff on the COVID frontlines. I have had the pleasure of working alongside the children of Wallingford through the Wallingford Community Theatre with my husband, Joe. (You might remember us from “Matilda” as Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood!)
As the daughter of a 3rd grade teacher, I was raised with a passion for education. I have been in higher education for 18 years at the University of New Haven in the Biology and Environmental Science Department. I am teaching our freshman Biology course and I have a front row seat to their transition into higher academia.
I see the products of the education system from the other side and I bring a unique perspective to help our students succeed post-high school. I know what a successful freshman looks like. And I know that the ones who struggle either aren’t prepared for college or, possibly, a 4-year college is not the right fit for them.
I am less concerned about our college acceptance rates. I am more interested in learning if those same students are thriving one-year post high school. As a community, we need to eliminate the negative stigma of a young person not choosing a 4-year college. As a member of the Board of Ed, I will support ALL post-secondary paths including community college, vocational training, military, or entering directly into the workforce.
Let’s talk about our students dealing with post-COVID. And specifically its impact on our children’s mental health, which affects their engagement in school and with potential long-term consequences. We don’t really know how far reaching the effects are. Children that seem fine now might show signs of distress later after pandemic recovery. I am committed to supporting policies that are focused on our students’ mental, emotional, and social health.
Two vs. One High School
Another issue on the minds of the people of Wallingford is combining the two high schools. I am not convinced that one high school is what is best for our children. But I am committed to keeping an open mind when we do our deep dive investigation. In the interim, I would like to see improvements to the infrastructure of our schools and more energy efficient capital projects.
I anticipate some tough choices in the next 2 years, especially when it comes to the budget. Our education budget is nearly $107 million – that is 2/3 of our town’s overall budget! I understand the balance between providing stakeholders with necessary resources, while also maintaining fiscal responsibility.
At the University of New Haven, I am a lecturer, but also responsible for managing the department’s budgets, including all grants. I have prior experience as the treasurer of my church, so I know how to be a good steward of a community’s hard-earned money.
I have likewise gained a unique insight into diverse aspects of Town management in my tenure as a Commissioner of the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission.
There will be big shoes to fill on the board. I am prepared to meet that challenge. I will be guided by what is the best for our children, our community and our future. I have the tools to enhance our schools, but I can’t do it from the outside. I can only do it from the inside and that is why I need to be elected to the Board of Ed.
I thank you for taking the time to read this and look forward to serving you as a Board of Education member. If you are interested in hearing about ways that you can support me or if you have any questions, please contact me at JenPassaretti4BOE@gmail.com or (203) 679-1882. Let your voice be heard and be sure to vote on November 2nd.