Thursday, June 13, 2024

Board of Education Organizational Meeting


By Barbara Heimlich

On December 11th the Board of Education (BOE) held its organizational meeting and elected a new executive board, which will serve for two years.

The new executive board is: Mike Henrick, Chair; Kristen Bedell, Vice-Chair; and Sean Kennedy, Secretary.

Republicans hold the majority representation on the Board of Education. The votes remained consistent with party lines, resulting in a 4 (R)-3 (D) vote for all three executive seats.

All subcommittee chair positions went to Republican BOE members, again with a 4 to 3 vote for each chair. All subcommittee chairs are BOE members, with the exception of the curriculum subcommittee.

The purpose of this special meeting was to elect the officers for the Board of Education this year, as the BOE chair along with two other members termed out. Lisa Carroll-Fabian, as the current Vice Chair, ran the meeting until the new chair was elected.

“I would like to express my gratitude for the incredible service Andrea, Amy, and Janice, provided to our community as members of the Board of Education,” she said.

Fabian also stated that the next two years will hopefully build upon the work done over the past two years, and that all who serve on the Board will remember that the students of our school district and those entrusted with their Education and Care are the highest priority.

After the election of BOE officers, Henrick asked committee chair members for a motion to wave the rules per bylaw 9132, in order to add the following to the agenda:

  • The appointment of a recording secretary clerk
  • The appointment of a BOE law firm. The law firm of Berchem Moses, who have represented the BOE for many years, were reappointed.
  • The motion was passe

Henrick then moved to nominate other BOE members to chair committees.

Henrick: “Athletic review, I’d like to have a motion to appoint Sean Kennedy as chair.

Personnel committee, I would like a motion to appoint Kristen Bedell as chair.

Policy committee, I’d like to have a nomination for Bill O’Brien so moved.

The BOE also voted 4 to 3 for the new curriculum chair, Terry Sheehy, who from 2013-2017 served on the BOE.

Notethe chair of each subcommittee historically has been a current BOE member who reports to the full BOE and the public regarding their subcommittee monthly meetings. The appointment of Terry Sheehy raises the question of how it will work moving forward with a public member as the chairperson instead of a BOE member.  

Note:  Lisa Carrol-Fabian and Chris Cormier were nominated for the Curriculum Committee as they are the only educator’s on the BOE.

According to Hendricks: “Just so everybody’s aware, there is no policy, State Statute or bylaw that precludes an outside member from the board to be appointed as a chair, and actually Robert’s Rules of Order encourages it, so that’s why we’re appointing Sheehy.

Hendricks also stated that, “I’m going to be appointing a special bylaws

committee to review our bylaws. There’s a lot of issues and inconsistencies

in there, and we’ll be looking to clean them up. I’m going to be appointing myself as the chair.”


Lisa Caroll-Fabian pointed out that according to the bylaws, the chair of the Board is chair of the naming committee. Note: The naming refers to a wing of Stratford High.

According to Hendricks: “No, it doesn’t, actually. It says in that policy, it says as I read it, the board will accept names and nominations. The subcommittee shall consist of the following minimum representation: the chair of the board is actually an ex-officio member, along with the superintendent. We have a member from planning, an administrator, a teacher, a parent of a student enrolled in the public schools, and two residents of the community. Not representative, but it says, ‘consist of the following minimum representation by state law’, that the board chair will appoint a chair, so that being said, I have a nomination for O’Brien.

Going forward to Communications board, we’ve appointed Mr. O’Brien as our Majority Leader to avoid FOI violations; typically what we’ll do is I will send it out to the majority of minority leaders, so if you guys can let us know who you choose as your minority leader, and from there you can disseminate the information to your caucuses, but that way we avoid the FOI violations of communications without a scheduled meeting, so moving forward that’s how the Communications will go, and then in January we’ll be scheduling a special meeting, in early January, to populate the Committees, dictate talk about their roles and responsibilities, and take a look at some of our bylaws, so that being said, is there any other discussion?”

Hendricks: “I’ve written down some of our committees that I would like to establish.  With the chairman of the finance committee, Kristen Bedell, and again at this point, because the finance committee has a lot of work ahead, I’d like to at this point establish the membership of that committee. We can ask for other names for nomination but we’ll take it to a vote today, but they do need to get right to work so I don’t want to wait until we will be having a special meeting, when we’ll appoint the membership of the other committees.”

Henrick appointed public members to the finance subcommittee. They are: Ben Branyan (Town Administrator and Chief Operating Officer for the Town of Greenwich. He has worked for the Town of Greenwich for over 13 years); Chris Pia (former First District Councilman) and Susan Lance, (former BOE member and reading consultant to school district).

The remaining seats will be announced at the next BOE meeting.

Members of the Board of Education, their contact information, and terms follow:

Chairperson, Michael Henrick (R)
165 Brookbend Dr.
Stratford CT 06614
Term: 2021-2025
Telephone: 203-385-4209

Secretary, Sean Kennedy (R)
46 Wainwright Place
Stratford, CT 06614
Term: 2021-2025
Telephone: 203-385-4209

Christopher Cormier (D)
127 Warwick Ave.
Stratford, CT 06614
Term: 2023-2027
Telephone: 203-385-4209

William (Bill) O’Brien (R)
450 Chickadee Lane
Stratford, CT 06614
Term: 2023-2027
Telephone: 203-385-4209

Vice Chair, Kristen Bedell (R)
276 Laurel St.
Stratford, CT 06614
Term: 2021-2025
Telephone: 203-385-4209

Lisa Carroll-Fabian (D)
144 Wainwright Place
Stratford CT 06614
Term: 2021-2025
Telephone: 203-385-4209

Jill D’Angelo-Powers (D)
103 Housatonic Ave.
Stratford CT 06615
Term: 2023-2027
Telephone: 203-385-4209


Mission Statement: To support the growth of the whole student through a challenging and inspiring education, within a safe and inclusive environment.

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