By TAYLOR HARTZ
There has been a change in leadership at the Southington Education Foundation (SEF), with Gail Duffy and Michelle LeBrun-Griffin taking the reigns from Jan Galati. The two life-long Southington residents will co-chair the non-profit, whose mission is “to instill a life-long love of learning in our children” in Southington by promoting innovative and creative opportunities for education.
Duffy and Lebrun-Griffin were sworn in as co-chairs at the May board meeting.
Both were born and raised in Southington and are proud graduated of Southington High School.
Duffy is a literacy coordinator at Terryville High School, and Lebrun-Griffin works as an Education Consultant for the State Education Resource Center. The two started their work with the SEF in 2014, and have been serving on the SEF Board of Directors since 2015.
Lebrun-Griffin has volunteered within the Southington community with Cub Scout Pack 72, Kristin’s Closet, and St. Dominic’s Parish.
Duffy is a former classroom teacher for elementary grades 2, 4, and 5 for Cheshire Public Schools. In Southington, she has been involved with the community conversation with pre-schools, served as the board secretary for the SEF, and served on the St. Dominic school board.
Duffy said that serving on the SEF board made her eager to get more involved with the non-profit. “Getting to see the inner structure of the organization and the level of commitment form our membership,” showed her how much the Southington community supports education, said Duffy.
“Our goal is to reach out to the community and really have more parental involvement,” said Duffy.
Lebrun Griffin said she looks forward to “broadening our community collaborations” and increasing program offerings for Southington’s students in grades prek-12.
The SEF currently hosts several annual fundraisers, including the SEF gala and the annual community spelling bee. To date, the non-profit has awarded more than $170, 000 in grant funding for education.
Lebrun-Griffin said she looks forward to taking on the responsibilities involved with coordinating the board of directors, but thinks she has big shoes to fill. The SEF board includes eight members and eight committees.
Lebrun-Griffin said former chair Jan Galati, “did a phenomenal job of organizing the work of the board,” which Galati split into five subcommittees focused on Board Development, Resource Development, Marketing and Outreach, Program Development, and Grants and Scholarships.
Lebrun-Griffin said she and Duffy are “hoping to engage more families in the SEF mission in the coming year by engaging the community in some old and new fundraising.”
The team has already held a “brainstorming meeting” where they discussed new ideas like a more affordable annual gala, a family-fun day, and a host of smaller events throughout the year.
For more information on the foundation, visit www.southingtoneducationfoundation.org