Sharkey Named BOE Chair

Shannen Sharkey, center, was selected as the new chair of the Branford Board of Education. John Prins, right was selected as Vice Chair. 

The Branford Board of Education will start the 2019-21 term with a new chair.

Shannen Sharkey, teacher, will take the helm after a three way race that took two votes to see a new chair selected.

Sharkey, John Prins, an education consultant, and incumbent Michael Kraus, a local business owner, sought the seat. Over the last week, the three worked to secure the votes of the other members.

Prior to the first vote, each candidate was allowed 3 minutes to speak. Prins spoke about the supporting environment he wanted to see in the school  system; Kraus detailed the list of accomplishments by the Board under his 6 years as chair, including moving forward on a new Walsh school; and Sharkey focused on being a teacher, something that she stated helps her in seeing the real impacts of policies being discussed every day.

“It has been decades since this Board had a chair that actually gets up each day and teaches,” said Sharkey. “Actually interacts, each day, with students, teachers, and parents. That real experience has helped me connect with the local community as a BOE member; I understand the daily concerns of parents and all of those who work in the education system.”

An initial vote, which saw paper ballots but each member vote announced publicly, saw Sharkey garner 4 votes, one shy of the needed 5. Kraus had 3 votes, Prins 2.

Those supporting Sharkey were Maria Erhardt, Dawn Perrotti, Meredith Gaffney; supporting Kraus was Ellen Michaels and Joann Borrus, and supporting Prins was Betsy Regan.

Each candidate voted for themselves. 

From here the decision was made to take a recess and let the parties caucus. Almost an hour later, the Board returned to session, and took a second vote.

This time, Sharkey supporters were joined by Prins, Regan and Michaels, and with a 7-2 vote, Sharkey became the new chair of the Board of Education. John Prins was named vice chair, and Regan as secretary.

With the new chair, Kraus completes 6 years as the chair of the Board of Education. Kraus helped lead the new Walsh school project, and a series of budgets that saw the annual increases, by percentage, drop year after year. Challenges faced included declining enrollment, Common Core implementation, and more. During his term as chair, the Board also remained non-partisan in its handling of issues.

The Board also welcomed new member Meredith Gaffney to the body, and honored outgoing member John O’ Connor for his years of service on the BOE and as a teacher and coach in the Branford school system.

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(20) comments

gobballfan

The looks on a couple of people's faces when the voting was complete should say it all. Hopefully a change in the leadership will bring a change to the "I can do what I want" attitude of the Superintendent. Please let there finally be some accountability and transparency. No more automatic raises and extensions.

Guest

Nothing will change in the schools until tax payers wake up and demand the union get out of the schools. Demand the superintendent get out of the schools.

What the heck does a super do? collect 200k plus a year to get more money from Hartford.

Stream line the entire education department. No more super, teachers that are not union (so they work and get rewarded differently - not all paid the same so they all become lazy and not care - hello socialism).

Bring back letting teachers hit kids that get out of line!!! - Yes, your kids need to get beaten once in awhile...it is good for them...especially those little boys who are weasels!

Get rid of unions, get rid of do nothing superintendents, less teachers (not more) no more spanish teacher in every room....kids - learn english on your own like we did 50 years ago.

Regional schools to share costs of supplies. Get rid of all the special education teachers which is a racket. No more medication for kids...let them play and have recess.

Parents - you have to wake up. NO MORE letting school systems tell you what to do...You (the taxpayer) pay their salaries...so you are the boss. Get rid of 50% of the school system and still will have too much fat in it!...

Costs go up every year...results go down every year and the school system always wants more money - what a racket!!!

Guest

Krause needed to be relieved of his Chairmanship, and has for quite some time. Great to see the BOE come together and do something positive for a change, instead of being led around by the Krause/Hernandez tag-team like a bunch of sheep. One of the few people that didn't see something like this coming seemed to be Krause himself. He should have put his ego aside and stepped down a while ago

Sailsalot

Hamelt's army of minions has one less member with this new board.

Guest

Hamlet's "army of minions", while very true and real, has just been moved around a bit, like a game of Musical Chairs. The current Chair, Vice Chair and Secretary were all part of the exact same herd of sheep nuzzling up to Kraus and Hernandez. So to expect meaningful change for the better from this realigned cast of characters is probably unrealistic.

BRANFORD

Now here is a person who knows what there talking about

gobballfan

As long as the chair is not a puppet for Hamlet, we have a fighting chance. While it is the same people, at least we can hope they won't be shot down by Hamlet's smoke screen. Hopefully this is the beginning of the end of the reign of the highest paid, most ineffective town employee Branford has ever seen. When this next contract extension (thanks Mike) is over, open the job up and let Hamlet apply for the job. He's never leaving on his own.

Guest

It would be impossible for the new Chair to be more of a puppet to Hernandez. Under Kraus, Hernandez was the real Chair and ran the Board. Rarely have we had the opportunity to see a man so happy to be a figurehead as Mike Kraus, much to the detriment of others around him. At the end of the day, it was a 7-2 vote against Kraus, and one of those 2 votes was him voting for himself

Guest

By the appearance of Mike sitting on one end of the table after the final votes were counted by Hamlet, Krause never saw this coming. And Hernandez, for once, couldn't help out the man that's given so much town money to him.

Guest

Fortunately, Krause's days of finding new ways to compensate the highly compensated bureaucratic Superintendent are at an end

Gregg Jerolman

I think it's pretty well-known that a change like this one has been sorely needed for quite some time. The change in leadership is most welcomed, and happened in convincing fashion (final vote of 7-2). Am confident, and hopeful, that we can now look forward to more functional and transparent leadership emanating from the Branford BOE. Congratulations to Shannen Sharkey, John Prins and Betsy Regan!

Pat Santoro

In reality,Mike kept Hernandez in check,it would have been worse without him.We will wait and see the outcome,I wish Sharkey luck,she will need it.

gobballfan

If you think Krause was keeping him in check then you have not been paying attention. That's like saying John Gotti kept the Mafia in check. There is a reason why Mike had the lowest amount of votes on election day and only had one other person vote for him for chairman. Parents are tired of the non-action of the BOE/Hamlet and board members are tired of being associated with the Hamlet/Krause agenda.

Guest

I don't agree.Mike runs a very successful business and what are Sharkey's qualifications?I have been paying attention,watch next year'budget.

Gregg Jerolman

I'll be happy with a higher budget, especially if we're getting more with it in the form of real responsibilities, accountability and transparency.

Guest

Mike runs an insurance business. And, with Krause's blessing, Hamlet used to run the BOE. He ran it into the ground to the point that there was an uprising by a board made up of usually weak people. After getting voted out, Krause poured the rest of the meeting like a spoiled child. If you cant see that, then you might not be paying attention as much as you think you are.

gobballfan

You are right, he does run a successful business. He doesn't have someone (i.e. Hamlet) telling him what to do though, which is why it is successful. That has nothing to do with running a school board. Does he issue car insurance policies out 3 years in advance? No, they are year to year, to keep the insured "in check". Why do we keep extending Hamlet? There is no need. Mike hasn't had a kid in the system for years. Shannen is a teacher. She can relate to the concerns of both kids and teachers. Talk to parents with issues with Branford school system. You know why things get to the point of being brought out in the media? Because Hamlet and Mike have a history of sweeping things under the rug, hoping they just go away.

Guest

If change is desired, hiring a person from within an industry will not achieve the objective.

BRANFORD

The FOX is in the HEN HOUSE.

Guest

The emperor was unceremoniously and justly overthrown. Instead of risking further embarrassment, Kraus should quit

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