Parent Activist Joins School Board

Melissa Bailey PhotoMaking what’s likely his final appointment before leaving office, Mayor John DeStefano tapped a longtime parent activist to fill a vacant seat on the school board.

Daisy Gonzalez (pictured), PTO president at East Rock Community Magnet School, was sworn in at Monday’s school board meeting at Hill Regional Career High. She fills a seat left open by Myra Jones-Taylor, who left the board in June, citing a conflict of interest with her new job as the head of the state’s Office of Early Education.

DeStefano, who’s retiring as mayor at the end of this year, appoints seven school board members and sits on the board as well.

Gonzalez, who’s 50, has a son, Marc, in the 7th grade at East Rock school. Her other son, Mikey, graduated from East Rock and Eli Whitney Technical High; he’s now 17 and attends Gateway Community College.

Gonzalez said she got involved at East Rock school 24 years ago when her niece enrolled. She has been PTO president for eight years and is active in the Citywide Parent Leadership Team. East Rock School, considered the stepsister of the more popular Worthington Hooker School in the neighborhood, is on the upswing: Students just moved into a new building at the start of the school year. Gonzalez sat on the school rebuilding committee and has been an active member of a parent-led effort to generate more interest in the school.

She said her top priority as a school board member will be getting more parents involved with schools. She said she’s pleased with the direction of New Haven’s school reform drive: “Our schools are headed in a great direction.”

Gonzalez will fill out the rest of Jones-Taylor’s term, which ends on Sept. 15, 2014.

Also Monday, DeStefano swore in board President Carlos Torre (pictured) to another four-year term. Torre is a veteran member of the eight-person board: He served on the board for 10 years, took a hiatus due to term limits, then served another eight. After his next four-year term, he will have to step down again due to term limits.

DeStefano also reappointed board member Che Dawson; Dawson, however, wasn’t officially sworn in because he arrived late to the meeting and DeStefano had to leave early.

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posted by: B Anderson on September 10, 2013  8:24am

Daisy is passionate about our children and schools, as well as intelligent, reasonable, and kind.  She listens, makes excellent decisions, works hard, and stands up for what she believes in. She has a long and deep experience with, and understanding of, New Haven public schools from a parent and activist perspective.  This is a fantastic choice that will benefit New Haven’s children and families! Thank you!

posted by: Kevin on September 10, 2013  11:21am

I had the pleasure of serving with Daisy on the School Building Committee for the new East Rock school. She will be a real asset for the board.