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Wednesday, August 21 News

Dems recommendations include new and familiar faces

WESTPORT — There could be new faces on the Board of Education after the municipal elections this November.

On June 19 the Democratic Town Committee revealed their recommendations for this year’s election. Lee Goldstein, PTA co-president for Coleytown Middle School, and Youn Su Chao, co-president for Coleytown Elementary School, were both endorsed to fill seats on the BOE.

Stepping down would be BOE Chair Mark Mathias, the board’s longest serving member, and BOE member Neil Phillips, who has served since August. Continuing on the board are Democrats Elaine Whitney and Candice Savin.

Phillips said due to the significant time commitment this past school year, he decided not to seek election due to work and family considerations.

“It has been a privilege to serve and I look forward to completing my current term,” he said.

Having previously served on the Representative Town Meeting for five years and with time spent on the BOE, Phillips said he has gained a deeper appreciation of how the town operates.

“(I) have had the pleasure of getting to know so many dedicated employees and elected town officials,” he said.

The Democrats currently control the seven-member BOE with four members.

Goldstein said she was excited the DTC Nominating Committee had recommended her as a candidate for the BOE.

“There’s a lot of work ahead, but it provides a great opportunity to engage the community about our priorities and vision for Westport schools,” she said. “I’m looking forward to talking to people about what they see as the important issues facing the district.”

DTC Chair Ellen Lautenberg said they interviewed several qualified candidates before making a tough choice for their recommendations.

“At this particular time, we felt that the two people we chose had the right qualities that we wanted to put forward,” she said. “However, it was not at all an easy decision.”

The DTC Nominating Committee also recommended incumbents Paul Lebowitz on the Planning and Zoning Commission, Nancie Dupier and Sheri Gordon on the Board of Finance, and Jim Ezzes on the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Gordon has served on the BOF since 2015, and Dupier since 2018.

Lebowitz has served on P&Z for four years and before that he was a District 6 Representative Town Meeting member for three years. He was elected P&Z chairman in 2017.

Lautenberg said the DTC was excited with the candidates they’ve chosen as their recommendations this year.

“We believe these are all people that will bring the right skills to the various boards and work hard on behalf of all Westporters,” Lautenberg said. “That’s what’s really important.”

Formal nominations will take place on July 17.

dj.simmons@hearstmediact.com

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