Sara Laughlin has stepped up and agreed to become Sherman’s Democratic Registrar. She has already begun and appointed Carol Muska as the Deputy Registrar.
Sara and her husband Tim became Sherman residents earlier this year. She is a retired teacher, having taught in the Brookfield Public Schools for nearly 40 years. Sara and Tim are excited to call Sherman home and “are enjoying our beautiful community as well as being closer to our children and grandchildren”.
Tim Laughlin, Sara’s son, serves on the BOE and significantly contributed time and effort to our recent campaign.
We are grateful to our previous Registrar of Voters, Joe Keneally, and the Deputy Registrar, Carol Muska, for all the devoted hours they have volunteered.
The Registrar of Voters, one from each political party, performs all duties required by Connecticut General statutes governing voter registration, the annual canvas of voters, primaries, elections, and the compiling and retaining of statistics for federal, state, and municipal agencies.
SHERMAN – Election Day was a busy one for Sherman. Though non-Presidential. municipal elections arc typically quieter, they had a higher than typical turnout this year with 914 residents voting. Democratic Town Committee Chair Mr. Jeff Ginsburg believes that “The BOE races spurred turnout, since structural issues with the Sherman School arc highly discussed around town. Two of the longer-term Republican BOE members chose not to run, increasing Republican interest in turning out the vote. Hence the election of two replacement Republican candidates.”
Republican Town Committee Chair Mr. Rick Hudson was happy that “every single one of our candidates (was) elected!” Of the BOE. he said “Those Candidates we put forward for the BOE are long-term residents who have kids in the schools and who are impacted directly by the decisions of the BOE on multiple levels. Kristin Grasseler and James Philipakos hope to make a real impact on the decision-making process of the BOE and help our school and community move forward with a solid plan for Curriculum, Citizenship and Construction.”
Ginsburg was excited to see the wide support that First Selectman Mr. Don Lowe received. “Known for his more bi-partisan approach to town government, Don Lowe, a Democrat, is a very popular First Selectman with all parties and was the strongest vote-getter. People could have skipped his race since he was unopposed, but instead, they crossed party lines to give him a vote of confidence.” He also noted that “Kate Frey, also a Democrat and well known in town, was the second-highest vote-getter in her first race. She obviously had support from all parties and is viewed as highly qualified and needed on the BOE.”
“Sherman’s elections are not all that partisan.” Hudson said, going on to say that the town “is being very well served by the majority of those in office. This basic tenet is why I firmly believe that most of Sherman’s voters, regardless of their affiliation, feel the same way. Some few might not. and that is to be expected.” He noted, “We did not contest every Office, at least partly because certain functions arc performing efficiently and creating an artificial controversy serves no one.” He’s optimistic that “If we continue to communicate across the divides we will succeed. When we stop talking, everyone will lose, and the greatest impact will be felt by the kids. That is totally unacceptable. 1 truly believe that Sherman is now better positioned to make real progress toward that end.”
*Words in Bold are added. Election Tabulation is also added.
Kate Kelley Frey (D)
Kate Kelley Frey seeks a position on the Board of Education. Kate is an elementary school teacher with 33 years of experience in public education and this would be her first run at an elective office. She hopes “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.” She also said. “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.”
Kristin Grasseler has 20 years of experience in the relocation industry with expertise in customer service, employee management, home sale, global mobility, and executive-level support She has board experience with the Ostomy Awareness Foundation and the Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Foundation. Kristin says that she has made many wonderful friends in the community over the years and hopes to be able to serve and support the families of Sherman.
Her goals are to: inspire transparency and collaboration among the board and the community; ensure that children can thrive in a safe and inclusive environment, and encourage common sense and mindfulness as Sherman tackles the maintenance of The Sherman School building.
James Neunzig (D)
James Neunzig has served on the BOE for the past four years and was recently appointed Chair, lie now seeks a second term. The owner of J.P. Gifford Market. Giffords Catering, and JP Gifford Cafe. James says that “Having served [on] the BOE for the previous four years, I am eager to continue the momentum of that work.” He went on to say that “My style is to work in partnership with parents, other citizens. and town leaders to address the important issues [that are] 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.”
James Philipakos (R)
James Philipakos works in the banking industry as a mortgage originator and has served on several boards and committees, including the Regional YMCA’s 11 nance Committee and the Northem Fairfield County Association of Realtors (NFCAR). James has also participated in many town efforts, such as the Senior Housing Commission and a separate committee set up to investigate senior tax incentives. He says that his goals for service on the BOE are very simple, “I will communicate with our community and town officials as best as I can; I will make decisions that I believe are in the best interest of the children, I will keep an open mind, and I will respect others.”
Matt Vogt (D)
Matt Vogt has served on the BOE for the previous two years and now seeks a full term. As a small business owner, he says that he will continue to 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. A lifelong resident of Sherman with young children in the school. Matt says “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 am writing this letter to encourage Sherman voters to support Kate Frey in the November 2 election. Kate is running for the Board of Education and is a most qualified candidate having taught for 33 years in the public school system. It is important to note that her professional work in curriculum and best practices in education will bring a much-needed perspective to the BOE in a time of transition. Kate also believes in working collaboratively and respectfully to attain the best outcome for our Sherman students and community. The needs of the students are Kate’s top priority.
I encourage you to support the Sherman School System by electing Kate Frey on November 2.
From Town Tribune Oct 28, 2021. To the Editor:
I have great admiration for those who volunteer their time to help run this town. Especially those who manage to work full time and still take the time to serve. I am a frequent patron of James’ J.P.Gilford Market and Catering Company and wholeheartedly support the owner James Neunzig for a second term on the BOE. Hospitality is one of the most difficult businesses, and to succeed, you have to think on your feet and deliver your best every minute of the day. That is the kind of experience our kids in Sherman deserve. Please join me and vote for James Neunzig on Nov. 2nd.
From Town Tribune Oct 28, 2021. To the Editor:
Last week several people took aim at James Neunzig. James has only been the chair for 3 months and yet has recently come under attack by a minority group in the Board of Education who did not get the new building they had hoped for. The mentioned “coup” -like attempt was, in fact, a majority of the board voting down costly measures to the taxpayers. Unfortunately, the minority had hoped for a very expensive building project and was not fixing the problems that have been plaguing the school for years. I support James Neunzig’s approach to fixing the school without those costly measures.
Please vote for James Neunzig on Nov. 2 so we can keep moving forward in the right direction.
Julia Tisdal, Sherman
From Town Tribune Oct 28, 2021. To the Editor: Sometimes I cannot help but worry for the future of our town. Volunteerism, a vital ingredient without which our little government cannot function, is waning. I wonder if we have become too aggressively critical of our leaders, most of whom are volunteers. The world is a tough place, and if we continue to blame the messenger anytime bad news needs to be delivered – I suspect we will continue seeing volunteerism decline in Sherman.
James Neunzig is running for another term on the Board of Education. A very intelligent, warm, detail-oriented individual, James has successfully led his retail/food service business through multiple recessions, and our current pandemic. Over the last 20 years he has mastered the delicate balancing act of providing excellent customer service, while maintaining a happy staff of employees. With considerable help from his wife Kara, James has additionally somehow managed to balance professional success, and raising three kind, sweet, and also very intelligent children.
James is NOT a politician. As a prime example: In concert with a team of experts and stakeholders, James has had to deliver some rather painful news to the Taxpayers in Sherman. Naturally, this letter cannot provide room for discussion around school facilities, or any other ongoing BoE issue. The point is that James refuses to pretend the situation will resolve itself – even if we choose to hide from it. Political damage simply does not factor into his process.
James brings the skill set, integrity, and passion that we need from our volunteers. Please join me in sending a big “Thank You” to him, and to all the others that serve our town. Through their sacrifice Sherman continues to be a most wonderful place to live.
From Town Tribune Oct 28, 2021. To the Editor: Ann Gerschefski will be on the November 2nd ballot as a candidate for Board of Assessment Appeals in Sherman. Ann looks forward to representing all Sherman residents thoughtfully, objectively, and respectfully.
Ann’s 15 years as a Realtor have taught her that every real estate situation is unique, and every client is unique. Her solid educational background (Phillips Academy Andover and Barnard College) taught her to look at issues from every angle. Her combination of rational non-partisan thinking and client-centered service will be a great benefit to Sherman’s residents as the Board addresses questions of property valuation.
The motto of Ann’s alma mater Phillips Academy is “non sibi”, meaning “not for self”. As past president of New Fairfield/Sherman Animal Welfare, and as a current volunteer for FISH of Sherman, Ann looks forward to extending service to others by serving on Sherman’s Board of Assessment Appeals.
Please cast your vote for Ann Gerschefski on November 2nd.
Jeffrey Ginsburg has the right experience to be a valued addition to the board. He was trained and had practiced as a professional engineer. He has experience in real estate purchasing and a keen sense of fairness. I trust that he would consider every case before the board, objectively and thoroughly.
Please vote for Jeffrey Ginsburg for Zoning Board of Appeals.