BERLIN — The Board of Education unanimously voted this week to have Mary Ellen Maloney fill a vacancy on the board.
Maloney, who has never served on the school board before, said she’s been active in the community and has had three children in the school system.
Maloney will hold the seat until the November 2020 elections.
Board President Richard Aroian said he was happy to see the board receive a slate of qualified candidates to choose from and was impressed by Maloney’s experience with the school system through her children.
"Mary Ellen did a great job at the interview and she impressed us all, as I said, with her dedication to the citizens and the town and the kids of Berlin, despite the fact that her kids are now graduated,” he said.
Aroian said he was impressed by Maloney’s years of work on the Parents Advisory Committee, particularly her involvement in rallying parents against the initial budget referendum last April. The group argued that cuts made to the board’s budget were too steep and urged parents to vote against the budget because it was too low. After the budget was defeated, the Town Council passed a $400,000 increase in school spending, which was approved by voters a month later.
Maloney downplayed her impact on the effort, saying she was focused on getting her kids prepared for college and only played a supporting role.
Having raised three kids through town schools and worked with many fellow parents on causes, Maloney feels she brings a different perspective.
“Because I have been so involved in the (Parent Advisory Council)…I felt that I just have a lot of information that would be helpful and pertinent,” she said.
Maloney said she’ll mostly be observing the board’s processes while she gets adjusted and is approaching the role without an agenda.
“I’m really here to be a helpful, objective member,” she said.