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New London — The Board of Education on Thursday elected as its new president a three-time former mayor whose family members, dating back to the 1940s, have all served on the board.
In a 5-2 ballot vote, board members elected Margaret “Peg” Curtin the new board president. Curtin replaces Bill Morse, who nominated himself Thursday evening for the position.
“We have a very busy year coming up, and I know that we can do the best we can,” Curtin said. “We are really embarking on a new era of education in the city of New London. We’re talking about looking at an all-magnet school city, we’ve been chosen to be an extended-day school district, so we have a lot to do this year.”
Delanna Muse was elected to replace member Liz Garcia Gonzalez as the board’s vice president, and Jason Catala will remain the board’s secretary. Catala edged out Garcia Gonzalez for the secretary position in a 5-2 ballot vote.
Morse, who said he has served three terms on the board, said the board has moved “light years ahead.”
“It’s been extremely gratifying and satisfying to see progress, to see a strong community, better educational opportunities. It’s been a growing process for me, and I think we’re on the other side of where we’ve been wanting to be for the last 15 years,” Morse said. “We have student achievement going up in math, the prospect of much better facilities, better instruction, better administration. I think we have a better board.”
Curtin, a Democrat, former mayor and city councilor, was elected to the board in November 2011. With 2,148 votes, she was the top vote-getter.
Curtin said then that she didn’t think she “ever left city politics” and that “with five Democrats, we can get something done without bickering.”
She said Thursday that she would try to meet with the city’s mayor on a monthly basis and meet with the teachers’ union periodically to listen to their suggestions.
“I need people to tell us what we’re doing right and what we’re not doing so right so we can perform and accept it,” she said.
As a parting gift to Morse, who would customarily receive a gavel, Curtin instead gave him a New London Whalers jacket.