Board of Education candidates Christa Sheehan McNamara and David Martens, who recently have begun their campaigns, said they are enthusiastic of the response they have received from supporters and are eager to reach out to more as they continue to bring their voices and new ideas to Darien residents.

McNamara and Martens are not newcomers to the workings of the board.

"As long-standing members of the Education Committee of the Representative Town Meeting, we have been charged with asking questions of the board and the administration. We have worked with the board, we understand the issues and the budget process, and are ready to hit the ground running," they said in a release. The candidates said filling the seats of their predecessors and working seamlessly with the other seven members will best serve the residents and parents of Darien.

McNamara completed her master's degree in elementary education after a career at Bloomberg L.P., and has devoted most of her volunteer efforts to education.

"My academic background enables me to provide a more critical look at issues presented involving both policy and curriculum," she said.

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As a parent of three elementary school children and an active member of Royle's PTO, McNamara said she also has an appreciation of the experience that students face in the Darien school system. In response to the issues pressing upon the district, such as special education and student population, McNamara has attended these meetings.

"I am there to hear the issues firsthand, to show that I care and to be able to bring an educated perspective as a new board member," she said.

Martens has been through eight education budget cycles as a member of the RTM Education Committee and said he understands the iterative process of change.

"Understanding that our current system has delivered excellent results overall is paramount in looking at future improvements," he said. "I'd like to introduce some of the measurement techniques we use in the industry so that as various programs roll out, there are some concrete measures of success. We believe this should help in the planning and execution phases of various initiatives.

He has a master's degree in business, and serves as chairman of several global creditor steering committees.

"In any board position, the critical aspect is being able to understand all the many points of view of a vast community, respect each opinion, and communicate clearly about decisions and actions," he said.

The duo said they believe Darien is committed to providing the best education for all students and has dedicated teachers.