The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT)
Protect Guilford Schools reveals BOE election slate
GUILFORD — The Guilford Independent Party has announced nominated three unaffiliated candidates running on the Protect Guilford Schools slate for the Board of Education election.
They are Kristy Faulkner, Noel Petra and Jennifer Baldwin.
The party was formed in response to the Republican caucus in late July, where three incumbent school board members seeking re-election were defeated by a group of candidates the Independent Party called a “farright group of Republicans associated with extreme views about our public education curriculum” in a news release.
An email request for comment about this claim to Guilford Republican’s Secretary Cyndi Preble was not returned by publication.
Protect Guilford Schools plans on campaigning “maintaining the excellence in education that Guilford has had for decades,” it said in the statement.
According to the press release, the Republican candidates’ views include the rejection of any teaching about the impacts of race and racism.
The Republican candidates have been outspoken about their beliefs that the district is pushing critical race theory, which has been denied in multiple statements by Superintendent Paul Freeman.
Critical race theory is a subject taught in law school and upper-level college courses, not in the K-12 grade levels.
Faulkner is a molecular biologist and mother of three children in elementary and middle school who is very concerned about what may happen to the district if GOP candidates are elected, she said.
“We moved to Guilford because of its school system,” Faulkner said in the release. “The sudden rise in aggressive, false claims against our curriculum and the malice with which members of our community are being attacked is unacceptable. We must protect Guilford’s Board of Education and continue to work constructively across party lines.”
Petra is a real estate and construction executive who works for the state as the deputy commissioner of real estate and construction. He decided to run so that the district will continue to maintain its high quality of excellence in education, since Guilford Public Schools serve as a model across Connecticut, the release said.
“They are our most important economic development asset, successfully attracting families to our town so they can provide their children with some of the best public education in the country,” Petra said. “I will work to maintain our school’s academic excellence, one that our residents and future residents value so highly.”
Baldwin also wants to protect the quality of the schools because recent events spurred her into action.
“I have been a public defender for over 20 years and I will protect our school system from the national partisanship that has reached Guilford,” Baldwin said in the statement. “Our children deserve to learn how to think critically about problems and bias so that they can be well-informed to make successful life choices.”
The party also crossendorsed two Democratic candidates, newcomer Arnold Skretta, an attorney, and Democratic incumbent Moira Rader.
Skretta said he is proud to see people of different political backgrounds unite and put the school district first.
Rader, who has served on the board for four years, said she is concerned for the district.
“I have grave concerns about what will happen if people with extreme, misguided views take over our Board of Education and have negative impacts on our wonderful school district,” Rader said in the news release.
“I could not be more proud to accept the Independent Party’s cross endorsement so that we can — together — protect our school system and continue the great, collaborative work that has made this one of the top school districts in the state.”
In the upcoming election, the five candidates that comprise this slate will appear together on the Independent Party line on Row C.