Penny Rashin is delighted to announce that she is running for the Board of Education. A three-term incumbent, she is committed to the sustained excellence of our schools, innovation and fiscal prudence. Her sons graduated from the NCPS and she has lived in New Canaan for 22 years. A graduate of Dartmouth College and UVA Law School, she practiced as a litigator for 17 years before staying home to raise her sons and volunteer in our community.
The last year has been challenging for us all. The NCPS District rose to the challenge and through forward, creative planning and partnering with its teachers, students and parents, was a leading district in educating its students in school full time. K-5 students were in school full time 87% of days and hybrid 11%; 6-8 students were in full time 83% and hybrid 15% and high school students were in full time or 75% for 60% of school days and hybrid 37%. The district was fully remote only 5 days. The Board also proceeded with important initiatives on school start times and diversity, equity and inclusion and supported curriculum work in health, math, social studies, science and the arts to implement best practices and meet state standards. While on the Board Penny has dived deeply into many areas. She chaired the Saxe Building Committee, which delivered on time and under budget the $18 million project that renovated the 58 year old auditorium, right-sized the music areas, and built the STEAM and general classroom addition. Last year she served on the Re-Open Schools and Resources Committees and as BOE representative on the Infrastructure Committee advising the Board of Selectman.
She also has served on the Governance, Teacher Negotiation, Superintendent Search, School Counseling, South School Building and the Bus Facility Operations Building Committees. Prior to being on the BOE, Penny was a member of the High School Building Committee. Education is dynamic. Penny believes that we must constantly look for cost effective ways to improve. Exciting plans and opportunities ahead include:
Implementing the school start time changes, which now have elementary starting at 8 am.
Supporting the new Innovation Center, a multidisciplinary, immersive effort for students K-12. The Innovation Center will bring to scale the best of the technological innovations developed this last year to advance the education of our students.
Reinventing and refurbishing the planetarium to make it a multi-disciplinary immersive experience for K-12 students and the community, using a public-private approach to funding.
Creating outdoor learning centers in each school, an effort being led by our parents through the PTC/PFAs.
Installing Solar Panels and CHP at the High School and EV charging stations at all the schools. Districtwide we have made huge improvements to reduce and modernize our energy consumption including: installing solar panels at East, West, South, Saxe and the High School and CHP at Saxe, switching to energy efficient LED lighting throughout the district, switching to propane-fueled buses and installing more advanced building monitoring systems to find energy efficiencies.
Constantly seeking out and efficiently implementing best practices in curriculum, finances and management. As an example, the District’s approach to health insurance and agreements with the unions and town has allowed us to keep a high deductible, self-insured plan that has saved the Town millions of dollars.
Penny is energized and excited about the upcoming school years. New Canaan is a special community, made more so due to the partnership between the parents, town and the schools to deliver a world class education for our students. Penny is honored and proud to be a part of that partnership and hopes to serve for the next four years.