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Monday, January 2, 2012

Wallingford school board: Welcome Back Patrick Reynolds

As published in the Record Journal, Tuesday December 27, 2011

Reynolds glad to be back after defeat in 2009

By Russell Blair
Record-Journal staff
(203) 317-2225

WALLINGFORD — After two years off the Board of Education, Patrick Reynolds is eager to rejoin the panel he was first elected to in 2007.

Reynolds, a Democrat, served on the board for one term before he lost his re-election bid in 2009. This time around, Reynolds said he plans to be a more active participant. “I’m going to be a bit more vocal,” he said. “I sat back my first term because it was all new to me. I want to free up my schedule to offer my services for some more committees.”

Reynolds, 58, teaches science at New Britain High School, Central Connecticut State University and Tunxis Community College. While there are no specific burning issues he wants to see addressed, Reynolds said it’s important to make sure that Wallingford’s students continue to be hard workers.

“I’m behind 21st-century technology, but we can’t get ahead of ourselves,” he said. “We need to make sure our young people have a 20th or 19th-century work ethic.”

Reynolds said that as a college professor he’s seen students show up for class unprepared or not show up at all. While he doesn’t see this as a specific problem in Wallingford, he wants to make sure that doesn’t become the case.

“It’s everybody’s responsibility to make sure students come to school and that homework is done on time,” he said. Reynolds said he’s happy with the education that his family has received from the town, but added that “there’s still work that needs to be done.”

As a member of the school board that hired School Superintendent Salvatore Menzo, Reynolds said he was also looking forward to working with the administrator.

“I’m looking forward to working with Menzo,” Reynolds said. “We’ve been in touch since the election and I’m looking forward to sitting down and talking with him.”

Among the first tasks for Reynolds and the Board of Education will be the 2012-13 school budget. A workshop scheduled for Jan. 9 will be the first time the panel gets a look at Menzo’s proposal.

“I think the last few budgets have gone as smooth as you can get,” Reynolds said. “I know as a board we have to really watch the pennies, from the administrators down to the department heads and the teachers.”

Roxane McKay, the Republican vice chairwoman, said she is looking forward to working with Reynolds again.

“He’s a good guy, and he brings a nice perspective being in the education world,” she said. “He’s very thoughtful and hard-working. He gets all the facts before he makes a decision; he does his homework.”

Kathy Castelli, a Democrat, said she is excited to have Reynolds back.

“He has great perspective,” she said. “He’s so involved with education. He helped me to broaden my own perspective.”

Reynolds said there is a good group on the school board, and that the panel isn’t overly political. He said he is looking forward to rejoining the members he previously worked with.

“I liked the people,” he said. “You couldn’t tell the Republicans from the Democrats. There were no personality conflicts, it was all for the kids.”

Though he could have called it quits after losing his re-election bid, Reynolds said that he still had a desire to serve.

“I grew up in Wallingford, my daughters went through the school system and my grandsons are in it,” he said. “I wanted to give something back.”


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