GOP candidates at center of race debate win Guilford school board approvals


GUILFORD – A group of new Republican candidates – at the center of the city’s debate over how race is taught in schools – have ousted their party incumbents for re-election to the Education Council.

The curriculum debate was led by local parents and members of the Truth in Education organization, which endorsed five candidates for the Board of Education: Bill Maisano, Nick Cusano, Tim Chamberlain, Alexandra Passarelli and Danielle Scarpellino.

A total of 183 registered Republicans attended the caucus, which was held Thursday at the Nathanael B Greene Community Center.

Bill Maïsano – 122 *

Nick Cusano – 119 *

Timothy Chamberlain – 118 *

Alexandra Passarelli – 116 *

Danielle Scarpellino – 112 *

Joseph Golino – 71

Ted Sands – 48

Amy Sullivan – 47

*Winner


Maisano received 122 votes, followed by Cusano (119), Chamberlain (118), Passarelli (116) and Scarpellino (112) to win party approvals, according to Cyndi Preble of the Guilford Republican municipal committee.

The incumbent candidates were defeated by 45 votes or more. Joseph Golino received 71 votes, Ted Sands 48 and Amy Sullivan 47.

Similar movements are occurring in other cities in Connecticut. In New Canaan this week, the new Republican candidates – on a mission to change the district’s agenda – ousted their incumbents from the GOP school board.

“At (Thursday) night’s Republican caucus, the people of Guilford spoke clearly and demanded a change from our Republican representatives on the Education Council,” the Guilford Republicans wrote on Facebook Friday.

Sullivan, who is the vice-chair of the Board of Education, and Sands were each first elected to the committee in 2013. Golino was appointed to the board in 2020.

“We would like to thank Joe, Ted and Amy for their hard work and look forward to hearing more about Bill, Nick, Tim, Alexandra and Danielle in the months to come before the election,” the Republican organization wrote on Facebook.

Kristen Peck is the other GOP member for the school board whose seat is not eligible for re-election in November.

The new candidates could lead to changes in the functioning of the board. Board members supported the district’s social justice and equity movement, which some – including Peck – called Critical Race Theory, a controversial academic framework for visualizing systems of racism and oppression in America.

Guilford officials have denied critical race theory is taught in town schools.

In April, the Board of Education approved a statement on the district’s social justice and equity initiative. Peck raised concerns about the statement, but ultimately voted to approve the message, according to the meeting minutes. Golino was the only Republican who voted against the declaration.

Education Council chairwoman Kathleen Balestracci and members John DellaVentura and Richard Hersh, all Democrats, will not be re-elected until 2023.

The two Democratic overtures are for Moira Rader, the secretary of the board, and for the seat of Mary Best. Both were elected in 2017.

Guilford Democrats announced Thursday night that their candidates would be Rader and newcomer Arnold Skretta.

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