New Selectman in town: Pamela Sparkman
DARIEN — Infrastructure, education and environmental conservation; these are the three core topics Democrat and incoming Selectman Pamela Sparkman wants to focus on throughout her first term.
“My number one thing is making sure parents feel comfortable going to work and leaving their children here in town and their schools,” Sparkman said.
For Sparkman, the town’s infrastructure goes hand in hand with a family’s safety and well-being.
“(Things we could address can be) as basic as pedestrian safety, lighting at the train station for parents to walk to and from work at night. So much of the basics of Darien life stem around some of the infrastructure that we can support here in town.”
Her 7-year long professional role as a local childcare consultant at Cultural Care Au Pair, an organization that matches youth from other countries with local families in a cultural immersion program, points to her family-centered work.
Sparkman, a Rowayton native, graduated in the last class of the all-girls Low-Heywood before it merged with the Thomas School. She ventured west to attend the University of Washington in Seattle while working as an international flight attendant and in a medical evacuation program in Alaska.
Though she started out wanting to major in occupational therapy, Sparkman eventually decided on visual arts. After working in San Francisco as an admissions director, she pursued a master’s degree in Arts in Education at Harvard, which she obtained in 2002, a topic that has since remained a central aspect of her personal, and now political, life.
“I would say the majority of us that move here in the last decades have all come for the schools, having some of the top schools in the state, probably in the country.”
Sparkman returned to Darien in 2009 for her husband’s work along with their two children. She became involved in the Representative Town Meeting education committee in 2016 for District 5.
“To support the schools in the community has really been my goal which is why I started on the RTM’s education committee - I think it’s the selectmen’s job to work with other local legislators to really fight for money to come back to our town. We can’t be the piggy bank for Connecticut.”
Sparkman’s time in California inculcated her with the importance of environmental conservation particularly when droughts ravaged the state.
“I’m concerned about the environment,” she says, worriedly. “In California, there was public information about how to conserve water and there were conscientious social efforts. It’s not like that here.”
“We need to educate ourselves and our kids about conservation and our kids just as we do about their safety. I had a nice meeting with Jayme and Susan last Friday and said I’d love to be the liaison for the recycling center. These are things that aren’t going to be expensive.”
Asked about bipartisan relations for the upcoming years, Sparkman emphasized collaboration over party.
“You realize that we’re all just friends and neighbors and we all are doing this. There is no stipend, we are volunteering because we all love Darien. Susan I’ve known over the last year through the Bar Method and Kip and my mother worked at the same office for 30 years (Kip said closer to 19 years) so it’s the next generation.”