Monthly Archives: September 2021

Kate Kelley Frey seeks position on the Board of Education

Kate Kelley Frey seeks a position on the Board of Education. This would be her first run at an elective office.

Kate was asked why she is running and why she would be a valuable member of the BOE.

“To volunteer my time and give back to a town that has supported and given so much to me personally, and to my family over many years, would be a tremendous privilege. My expertise in curriculum design and best practices would fill a practical need currently existing on the Board of Education (BOE). Running for a seat on the BOE is a stroke of good fortune: to have the special abilities to give back and a strong sense of indebtedness to Sherman.

“I am currently an elementary school teacher with 33 years of experience in public education who has worked with high needs children in Texas and Connecticut.  I have my Master of Science in Curriculum from Western Connecticut State University and a Bachelor of Science from Northeastern University.  I feel my knowledge of curriculum, best practices, and my collaborative nature would be an asset to the Board of Education. I am a good listener, reflective, and value different perspectives. I believe in cooperation and that when we value all perspectives and work together as a community we get a far better outcome than working alone or in isolation. The needs of the children in our community are my top priority and strive to balance that with ensuring that the taxpayers get the best value for their hard-earned money.

“The Sherman School holds a special place in my heart for many reasons. My first teaching job was at the Sherman School. I  taught 6th, 7th, and 8th-grade social studies filling in as a long-term substitute for several months. It was a supportive, close-knit staff who welcomed me with open  arms and who were delighted to have “one of their own,” come back to teach. The students and parents were also a joy to work with, eagerly participating in our celebrations of Ancient Greece and Rome. One parent volunteered to share a slideshow of her life in Iran before she moved to Sherman with my students.  It was a privilege to work alongside my mother and be part of an engaged community of parents, grandparents, caregivers, and friends who all played a role in supporting student learning in the classroom and beyond.

“In 2007 I moved back to Sherman and built a house in the field behind my parents’ house. I would soon gain a new perspective of the Sherman school community as a parent. My daughter and my brother’s boys would all ride the bus together each day and I would get to know all of my daughter’s classmates and families. We fundraised together, attended art shows, talent shows, musicals, chorus and band concerts, and open house night each year. I have heard many stories from friends over the years about how they felt like their child was part of a bigger community at the Sherman School,  being raised and cared for by a community of adults.  I am so grateful that my daughter and nephews were able to belong to a unique  K-8 school community,  make lifelong friends, experience small class sizes, and participate in all the wonderful programs that the school offers.

“My family became full-time residents of Sherman in 1976 when we moved into what we affectionately called “ the camp.” while we waited for our new house to be completed. I have such fond memories of Lake Candlewood and the bugle call at the Boy Scout Camp that would wake us each summer morning to our parents’ chagrin. Little did I know that one of my future Sherman classmates, whose family were caretakers of the Boyscout camp, would be one of my friends, and we would spend winters ice skating and have sleepovers at the lodge. My brother and I made many friends those first years at Sherman School and I still see many of my classmates around town at the IGA or stay in touch through Facebook.

“I realize that my experiences differ from others but I think all students deserve a great public school with the resources, programs, and curriculum to nurture their curiosity, imagination, spirit, talents, and desire to learn. I am honored to be running for a seat on the Board of Education and will work hard to earn that trust.”


James Neunzig seeks a second term serving on the Board of Education

James Neunzig has served on the Board of Education (BOE) for the previous four years. His most recent role is Chair whose term completes at the end of this year.  He now seeks a second term serving on that Board of Education.


James was asked why he is running again and why he would continue to be a valuable member of the BOE.

“Having served the Board of Education (BOE) for the previous four years, I am eager to continue the momentum of that work. I am the current BOE chairperson. If Sherman does re-elect me for another four-year term and you elect Kate Kelley Frey, I would likely have the privilege of serving as the BOE Chairperson for the next two years. Either way, I will work tirelessly.

“My style is to work in partnership with parents, other citizens, and town leaders to address the important issues meaningful to the Sherman community. Investing our tax dollars wisely towards the best school experience for not only the near-term but also for the future is essential to me.

“My wife Kara and I have lived in Sherman for more than 20 years with our three children, all of them have attended The Sherman School.  I am the owner of J.P. Gifford Market, Giffords Catering, and J.P. Gifford Café.  I have over 30 years of experience in the Hospitality business.

“After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America with an AOS in Culinary Arts, I earned a business degree in Hotel, Restaurant & Institutions Management from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. During that time, I taught culinary arts and restaurant management to undergraduates at the university.

“From those experiences, the most important ability I developed was to listen first and foremost. Ask questions.  Seek expert advice. Gather the facts and carefully form a position that could evolve as new information and perspectives come into focus. Sometimes the result is going in directions originally unexpected. I consider myself to be very thoughtful and reflective and do not make snap decisions.

“I believe in and love our small town.  Even in Sherman, I’ve seen a rich diversity of viewpoints from a wide range of backgrounds. Our children reflect that diversity which must be nurtured along with our commonality,  in our schools, community, and how we administer the BOE.  I want the BOE to foster a safe, congenial, and wonderful educational experience. I want this for my own children and for all my neighbors’ children. I want the school environment to be one in which our more senior members of our community want to volunteer and feel a strong connection to this vital hub of our town—regardless of whether you have children or not.

“My experiences in business have given me the flexibility needed to work with an evolving BOE—one that will experience the departure and arrival of several board members. Both BOE versions share similar goals and going forward, I expect, the new to have some different approaches.  Essential is to respect and use the groundwork laid by the previous BOE and to build on that. To those stepping down, I have gratitude for their hard work and hours of volunteer time. To those willing to step forward, and give thanks and encouragement.

“My commitments bring a full life and am glad I am able to compartmentalize and be the best parent, husband, small businessman, BOE-member, taxpayer, voter, the charitable person I can be with little compromise. I usually donate anonymously and am reluctant to mention the extent to which my businesses and I have freely provided wine dinners, delectables, and staffing to events supporting the Sherman Library, the Sherman Historical Society, and the Sherman Parent-Teachers Organization, and many others. I don’t keep track, don’t care for recognition, and do it just to help. I mention it only for those unfamiliar with me.

“What aspect of being on the BOE have I enjoyed the most? I’ve especially enjoyed the company of both past and present board members. I see everyone’s intent as pure. If re-elected, I will ensure that we efficiently/effectively invest in our children’s educational experience for not only the near-term but also for the future. I will ensure our community is regularly informed of our efforts.


Matt Vogt seeks a full term serving on the Board of Education

Matt Vogt has served the Board of Education (BOE) for the previous two years after being appointed to fill a seat vacated by Missy Alexander moving from the area. Matt now seeks a full term serving on the Board of Education, he runs for this seat unopposed.

Matt was asked why he wants to return to BOE and why he would continue to be a valuable member of the BOE.

For the last year, I have had the honor to fill a seat on the Board of Education by appointment. I hope to continue to fill that seat for the remaining two years of its term. As a small business owner, I bring my experience in operations and budgeting, with an understanding of the balance needed between the financial requirements of operating the school district and the realities of its existence within the framework of such a small town.

Providing the best possible education for our students is paramount. I also feel an acute responsibility to maintain this highly valuable center of our community for our town and for the future generations of Sherman School students to come. I appreciate the opportunity to continue serving the town of Sherman and its school district.

As a lifelong resident of the town of Sherman, I truly believe that its greatest asset is the Sherman School. I spent nine years at the school from Kindergarten through Eighth grade, so I know firsthand the value of the experience Sherman has to offer. I was away from town for about 5 years but when I returned, my step-son entered the school for his 7th-grade year and thrived in the Sherman environment in a way that he was not able to in his previous school district. This strongly reinforced for me the importance of maintaining this school for future generations. He is now 18, I also have a daughter who is 21, twin daughters who are 6, and a son who is 19 months.



Unopposed, Joel Bruzinksi, well known town volunteer, seeks Selectman post

Unopposed, Joel Bruzinksi, well-known town volunteer, seeks Selectman’s post.

When asked why he would make a good Selectman and why he is running, Joel replied:

“I hope to leverage the skill set I have acquired over the last two decades as the General Manager of an exceptionally challenging business. Combine that with the experiences of serving on various town boards and commissions, as well as volunteering for town organizations, I will be a steady and thoughtful advocate for Sherman’s best interests.”

Joel continues…

“While living on Sherman’s “Front Porch” for the last twenty-three years (his house is opposite the Sherman Library) I have developed a unique perspective into the evolution of the day-to-day happenings of our wonderful community. ”


Unopposed, Don Lowe seeks third term as First Selectman

Don Lowe seeks his third term as First Selectman. He runs unopposed. He is well qualified!

Don has served as Sherman’s First Selectman since January 1, 2018.

Prior to that, he was a Selectman from 2015-17 and also a Selectman from 2003-08. Other boards and commissions: Planning and Zoning (2000-02); Land Acquisition Fund –chairman (2005 – present); Sherman Higher Education Fund Board (2000 – present).

Don has been an active volunteer on many fronts in Sherman including land conservation, Senior citizens, arts and entertainment, adult education, the library, the Historical Society, and the Weed Warriors.

Prior to becoming First Selectman, Don worked in an administrative position for Orange County Community College and he taught English, writing, communications, and public speaking as an adjunct professor at several colleges.

He also enjoys a quaint regional career as a singer/songwriter and can be seen performing in many local and regional venues. Originally from North Dakota, Don has lived in Sherman since 1999 and is married to Broadway dancer, Mary Ann Lamb. They have 3 children, David (34), Connor (27), and Rose (18).

The (Almost) Official Ballot for the Election of November 2, 2021 has been released

This ballot was released by the Sherman Town Clerk on Sept 28th and is the likely ballot.  Although several positions have candidates from both parties, only the Board of Education positions have one more candidate than actual positions.  The top three vote-getters will be seated. The other positions will accommodate the candidates seeking them.

Click here to view the ballot.