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Stamford Debate Focuses on New Superintendent

STAMFORD, Conn. – As the candidates for Stamford’s Board of Education weighed in on the topic of a new superintendent during Monday’s night debate, each had a slightly different opinion on what would be best for the school system.

Democrat Gary Klein, who has two kids in the Stamford Public Schools and whose wife is a teacher, wants to hire someone who is a good listener and communicator. Klein also wants someone who is willing to stay in Stamford, he said, noting that several since the 1970s, including Joshua Starr , have come to the city and subsequently left for another position.

“Hire the one who is going to do best by the kids,” Klein said. “Our kids come first, not someone’s career.”

Democrat incumbent Julia Wade said the candidate should have experience as a superintendent in an urban area and should be the person the community wants. She added that the superintendent should also be willing to work with the city.

Independent Karen Murphy would like the superintendent to have high expectations, specifically mentioning a goal of raising the percentage of children reading at or above level to about 90 percent. Murphy was also cross-endorsed by the Republican Party.

Democrat incumbent Jackie Heftman and Republican challenger June Corridor agreed that the next superintendent should be ready to build on the foundation put in place by Starr’s administration.

“We don’t need a new curriculum; we don’t need new books,” Heftman said in defending her position for progress.

“It’s always start and stop, start and stop,” Corridor , a former Stamford teacher for 38 years, said of the revolving door of superintendents.

The lone candidate not at the debate was Republican Mike Bayonne Jr .

The debate took place at the Harry Bennett Branch of the Ferguson Library and was sponsored by Stamford’s League of Women Voters . The league will hold a similar debate at the main branch for the Board of Finance on Monday, Oct. 24.

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