Election 2017: With new chairman, changes to come for Darien Board of Education
Updated 1:38 pm, Wednesday, November 1, 2017
DARIEN — Though no races in Darien other than First Selectman and the Board of Selectmen are contested this Nov. 7, the Board of Education will at least see a slight shuffling of its members.
Current Chairman Michael Harman announced in June that he would not seek re-election after the Republican Town Committee chose not to endorse Harman, who had served two terms. In addition, Sarah Schneider-Zuro resigned her post of five years in September.
Debra Ritchie, who had served eight years on the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) was appointed this fall to replace Zuro, whose term was to end in 2018, but will be up for re-election despite her short time on the board.
“When somebody resigns, depending on the office, the person can only serve until the next time that office is on the ballot. Since the Board of Education is on the ballot every single year, if somebody gets appointed midyear they can only serve until the next election,” said Town Clerk Donna Rajczewski.
Ritchie is a New Jersey native and a graduate of Villanova University who worked in corporate banking prior to having children. She moved with her husband from New York City to Darien in 2002 and has three children, two of whom are currently enrolled in Darien Public Schools.
According to Ritchie, the biggest issues in town are, “managing the impact on Darien of the financial uncertainty in Hartford and creating a long term facilities plan to make much needed improvements to our school.”
RTM member Dennis Maroney, formerly the RTM Education subcommittee chairman, was given the RTC endorsement in June for the seat to be vacated by Harman.
The final two candidates are Democratic incumbent Michael Burke and Republican incumbent David Dineen.
Burke, who joined the board in 2014, is a lawyer with Eckert Seamans, in White Plains and graduated from Fordham University Law School.
Dineen is an executive vice president at Bankwell in New Canaan. He has lived in Darien for more than 20 years and is a member of the Darien Volunteer Fire Department and Darien Firefighters’ Foundation.
Dineen, Burke and Maroney did not respond to requests for comment.