In the final meeting of the Southington Board of Education, before the municipal election, held on Thursday, Oct. 24, the group bid farewell to Patricia Queen and Brian Goralski, who were not seeking re-election.
Queen was described as “the most hardworking, detail oriented person this board has ever seen,” who “often had strong opinions, but was always willing to look at all sides of the situation, kept an open mind,” and was willing to change her decision if she found compelling information.
“I’m so proud of Southington Public Schools and leave knowing it is in good hands. We have an administrative team with a vision, a plan to bring it to fruition, and the leadership to make it happen,” said Queen. “I have learned so much from all of you and from our students. It’s been my pleasure to be such a small part of such a fine institution, and when I listen to our retirees and the number of years of service, I am in awe of the amount of time that they’ve all given.”
As the former chairman of the BOE, Goralski was described as “a leader of great integrity, honesty, and one with a moral compass always pointing in the appropriate direction.”
“Growing up I never understood why my father liked politics, but that’s probably what drove me to run, that and the desire to make change. My mom hated politics, and I always served in a way that I thought she’d be proud and kept it nonpolitical. This board makes that easy because we all focus on one thing,” said Goralski. “I’m just proud of the years I got to serve.”
Both members were presented with commemorative plaques
After a moment of silence in honor of former Southington High School baseball coach John Fontana, the board unanimously approved the appointment of Steve Risser as the Southington athletics director.
Members of the board recognized teachers who had recently retired from the school system, with the outgoing chairman describing the “celebration of excellence as ” a bittersweet celebration.
“Before you stand some people who have put in a serious amount of time of their lives to help make the children’s lives here in Southington better, to enrich them, and ultimately at the end of the day, because of education, made them all better off,” said Goralski. “We as a community are better off, [and] our kids are better off.”
At the conclusion of the meeting, the outgoing board members were introduced to the new Southington High School School Resource Officer (SRO), James Valentine. Valentine has been with the Southington Police Department for 21 years, having served as an officer for 17 years, and said that he is happy to be at the high school.
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