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Ledyard school board race dominated by incumbents

Ledyard — Every Republican serving on the nine-member Board of Education is seeking reelection Nov. 2, while the Democratic slate includes two incumbents and four newcomers.

On the GOP side, Chairman Anthony Favry has been on the panel since 2015, and its leader since 2016. He is also chairman of the board's Strategic Planning Commission. Favry said a major challenge facing the new school board will be continuing to determine how the pandemic is affecting school operations.

"We have to analyze how far behind students are in their learning. We also have to balance the emotional and mental health needs of both students and staff," he said.

Fellow GOP incumbent Mike Brawner is seeking a fourth term on the board, and is chair of the Finance and Negotiating Committees.

Republican Steve Munger has been on the board for three years, and is chairman of the board's Facilities Committee.

Republicans Brandon Graber and Whit Irwin were both appointed to the panel in October of last year. Graber serves on the board's Facilities and Policy Committee, and is also its School Safety Liaison. Irwin serves on the board's Finance, Policy, and Diversity and Inclusion committees. Republican Laurel Wiers was appointed to the board in June of this year, and serves on the panel's Policy, and Diversity and Inclusion committees.

The two Democratic incumbents seeking reelection are Kate DiPalma-Herb and Joanne Kelley. DiPalma-Herb has been on the board since 2014, and is the panel's vice chair, as well as chair of its Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and member of its Finance Committee. Kelley is seeking a second two-year term, and is chair of the Policy Committee, and oversaw policy changes regarding the reporting and handling of sexual harassment issues as required under federal Title IX legislation.

Democrats seeking their first term on the school board are Carmen Garcia-Irizarry, Mary Harris, Nakai Northup and Alex Rode. Garcia-Irizarry is employed as a chemist at Pfizer. Harris is a retired science teacher. Northup is a member of the Mashantucket Pequot tribe, and is employed as a lead educator at the tribe's Museum and Research Center. Rode is a retired Ledyard Center School teacher, and a retired U.S. Naval aviator.

Republicans have a 6-3 majority on the Board of Education.

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