Mourning Ralph Bowley

It is with heavy hearts that we mourn Fairfield Selectman Ralph Bowley's passing. Bowley loved Fairfield, and Fairfield loved him and he served her with tremendous pride and honor.

Bowley was many things -- he was optimistic, honest, compassionate, funny, smart and humble. People aspired to be like him. He loved his family and friends dearly and he held them close. He treated individuals with deep respect and kindness and went out of his way for so many. He volunteered his time for numerous organizations and was a very active member of his church. He did things for altruistic reasons, not for recognition or to receive accolades from others. Bowley lived the old adage that deeds are better than words.

He was the most decent man you'd ever hope to meet. He was a gentleman in the truest sense of the word -- a gentle man. In politics, we remember him as individual who championed common-sense principles but it is his giving heart that we will miss. Bowley was always the first one to reach out to someone or to offer his assistance or time. He was a wise teacher and he showed others the virtues of public service.

I had the opportunity to work with Bowley when he ran for selectman back in 2007 and then again in 2008, when he ran for state representative. He was always the same person when you saw him -- he greeted you with a warm smile and immediately asked how you were and asked about your family.

Years earlier, I first met Bowley during the Parks and Recreation summer softball league and my team played against his daughter Shannon's team, which he coached. Just as he was in politics, in softball Bowley was fair, thoughtful and at times unabashedly competitive, yet always graceful in both victory and in defeat.

Bowley will be missed, and his memory is a blessing. We are all richer for knowing him.

Alexis Harrison

Fairfield

Board should pay

I thought I would never write a letter to the editor agreeing with First Selectman Ken Fatto, but here goes.

With regard to hiring a new superintendent of schools, I agree with Flatto that the Board of Education should have offered him less than Ann Clark. This is the way private business would handle hiring a new employee. But the Board of Education has other ideas when it comes to money -- they seem to think that money grows on trees.

Flatto should cut the Board of Eduction budget. Let the board figure out how to pay for this blunder.

A suggestion: fire one or two of the administrators. I know the board will not do this -- it would rather take crayons away from the children to pay for this blunder.

Richard Osborn

Fairfield

Response

As both an educational consultant and a resident of Fairfield, I am writing to point out that Linda Snelham-Moore's recent letter regarding the quality of our school system contains untruths and misinformation.

Our "gold-plated school system" as she refers to it, does in fact test well, with standardized scores that are consistently above state and national averages, and certainly does send our children to the top colleges in the country. My daughter's class of 2009 at Fairfield Warde High School included graduates who went on to Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, Brown, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Virginia and other highly prestigious schools. This year's senior class has a similar acceptance profile, including Stanford, Cornell, Tufts, USC and others. Fairfield Ludlowe High School can undoubtedly be equally proud of its college admittances.

As the owner of College Assistance Plus of Fairfield County, I know that the most selective colleges throughout the country hold our town's high schools in high regard, as they offer a rigorous curriculum and do an excellent job at preparing students to succeed at the college level.

As far as the superintendant's salary, if we amortize it over the more than 10,000 students in our public schools or the 20,000+ households in our town, perhaps it will be easier to justify to those who forget the importance of getting the best person for the job. Don't forget, Linda, that presumably, we get what we pay for.

Sheryl Santiago

Fairfield