Milford Board of Education District 3 candidate: Holly E. Mulrenan

Holly E. Mulrenan

Holly E. Mulrenan

Contributed photo

Party: Democrat

Are you an incumbent? (If yes, how many years in office): No

Current job: Post-secondary Health and Sciences Educator, Nursing and Science Tutor, Connecticut Licensed Registered Nurse.

Volunteering background, if any: City of Milford Board of Health - Appointment; Goodwin University Advisory Board; VNA of South-Central Connecticut Advisory Board; Annual Read Aloud - Read School (Elementary and Middle School), Bridgeport; Parent Perspective Presentation: Freshmen Orientation, Jonathan Law High School, Milford, CT Downtown Cabaret Theatre Volunteer, Bridgeport; American Junior Legion Post 196 Baseball Volunteer; St. Vincent’s de Paul Day Soup Server.

Education: University of Connecticut, M.S. Health Promotion; Southern Connect State University, B.S.N. Nursing

If elected, what will be your primary focus — budget, curriculum, another topic?

An area of ongoing concentration for me is the need to continually address the pandemic-related stress impacting our youth, particularly, the disruption in their social and emotional stability. Research shows that students perform better when they interact and are emotionally healthy. To that end, Milford is fortunate that Dr. Anna Cutaia, the Superintendent of Milford Schools, has made it a priority to support the social and emotional well-being of students and staff. Under her leadership and in partnership with the Milford Parent Teacher Association Council three key programs were developed and implemented at the start of COVID-19. Additionally, the Milford School District recently hired eight elementary school counselors, assigning one counselor to each elementary school, to work towards developing strong relationships with students, family, and staff. The measures to support the social and emotion health of our youth needs to remain a focused area of attention.

What is your stance on the recent calls by some for more input in the curriculum? Do you feel the curriculum is proper, any issues or changes needed in your mind?

Within me lies a genuine passion for education along with a deep respect and sense of pride for Milford’s school system. As a candidate for the Board of Education it is my plan to support the district’s achievements and assure that board members, administrators, faculty, staff, and families continue to work in transparency and partnership in delivering a quality education to the children of Milford. The district’s curriculum is proper, and its accomplishments are many; here are a few to highlight:

* Dr. Cutaia was named Outstanding Superintendent of 2021 by the Connecticut Parent Teacher Association. A testament that parents and teachers support Dr. Cutaia and recognize her strong and effective leadership.

* World Language is being offered to our younger students; it began in kindergarten and first grade during the pandemic, then second grade last year, and third grade this year. The timing of this is key; learning a language at an early age is well supported by research as the time when language learning is optimal. This offering is a valuable addition, one that enhances students’ development and cultural awareness.

* Creation of Elementary Science/STEM Labs and STEM specialists. As a person who has spent a lifetime in a science-based career, this is an endeavor that draws out my passion and excitement for our youth. It is the ideal time for exposing, preparing, exciting, and encouraging students into the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.

Your thoughts on the school budget — how it stands now for what is needed in the schools?

One of the Milford School District’s many achievements was ending the 2020-21 year with a balanced budget, in the face of COVID related financial strains and without seeking additional funds from the city. There was an effort to make efficient use of budgeted funds. Resources were streamlined and focused. Also, the Board devised two 10-year budget focused roll out plans for maintenance and curriculum. There is a need for continual improvement in our buildings and measures are underway, such as, high school media center renovations, Jonathan Law and then Joseph A. Foran. The Board and I agree also support prioritization of air conditioning and ventilation needs through:

* HEPA filters for all classrooms

* Capital Improvement Request for air conditioning for schools

* Support for all major school renovations to include air conditioning

All candidates can also respond about their reasons for running, time they have lived in the city, and why they are best for the role.

What I want citizens to know about me is that my diverse background as a nurse, an educator, a tutor, a parent, a Board of Health member, and a lifelong Milford resident affords me to bring a unique perspective regarding our children’s educational needs. I am genuinely grateful to the Milford School system for serving me and my three adult sons well in developing our knowledge base and in building our character. Our foundation began with the Milford School District; it taught us to be curious, how to ask questions, to seek information and apply what we learn to understanding topics. A position on the Board of Education is an opportunity to pay it forward. It is my goal to ensure the system remains strong, realizes each student’s potential, and continues to prepare students to think critically and to become successful contributing members of society.