Fairfield BOE member resigns citing personal goals

Pytko

Pytko

Contributed photo / Contributed photo

FAIRFIELD — A Board of Education member has resigned, two years before her term was supposed to end as she looks further her education and spend more time with family.

Triska Pytko, a Republican member of the school board, said she resigned on Tuesday because she is starting to apply for programs to get her doctorate in special education.

“I’ve been on the board for six years,” she said. “When I started, my daughter was 2 and she went to bed at 7 o’clock at night and we only had a couple meetings a month. Now, we’re having a couple meetings a week. She requires more time and I want to go back to school. I want to work on my family and my daughter.”

Pytko, a science teacher at Bunnell High School in Stratford, said she wanted to start looking for special education jobs as she just got her certificate to be able to do so. She said she also wants to spend more time with her students, who need more social, emotional learning.

“I want to be there for my students outside of the classroom,” she said. “My students need me now more than ever.”

Pytko said she could not see herself staying on for the remainder of her term and putting her plans on hiatus.

The Board of Selectman will appoint a temporary replacement, and the seat will be filled during the next municipal election, according to the town clerk’s office.

Pytko said all of the Board of Education members have been supportive of her decision. While they may not get along all the time, she said she respects the dedication the members have to the staff and students.

“It’s a commitment,” she said. “You don’t go into the board of ed lightly. That is a huge chunk of your time.”

It takes a full year to learn how a school district operates, Pytko said, adding she is still leaning.

“We’ve dealt with so many things in six years — the racial imbalance plan and possibly redistricting and then the pandemic,” she said.

Pytko said she is proud of the things she supported during her time on the board, whether it be the early literacy academy, the expansion complex learning cohorts or elementary school math programs. Having a daughter with special needs, she said she was happy other members of the board also brought that perspective.

The COVID-19 pandemic taught her a lot, Pytko said, noting she never would have supported every student having a Chromebook prior to it.

“You would hear me numerous times at a meeting advocating for the opposite,” she said. “I was worried about the amount of time students would be on electronics, and who knew that we were going to have to need it.”

As the board moves forward without Pytko, she said she hopes they can continue to work effectively while respecting each other — even if they do not all agree on the issues.

“Keep in sight all students’ needs,” she said.

joshua.labella@hearstmediact.com