Democrats nominate Kate Conetta for school board
DANBURY — Democrat Kate Conetta is poised to become the newest member of the Danbury school board this month.
Conetta has applied to fill the seat vacated by fellow Democrat Kathleen Molinaro, who resigned her position last week after 13 years on the board to spend more time at home for family health reasons.
Already a staple of school board meetings, Conetta is usually in attendance for board discussions and regularly talks with district staff about ongoing school issues.
“They’re coming up on budget season right now and I would very much like the opportunity right now,” Conetta said. “I feel very passionately about education and I really see it as the foundation and the future of this city.”
The Danbury Democratic Town Committee unanimously endorsed Conetta during its meeting Monday night and so far she is the only candidate for the position ahead of the application deadline Wednesday.
Although the district takes applications from any resident over 18 years old, it is customary for the board to accept a nomination from the party of the departing member.
If appointed, Conetta would serve the remainder of the term this year and run for re-election in November for her first full, four-year term on the board.
Born in Bethel, the 39-year-old has lived in Danbury since 2011 and her 17-year-old son is a junior at Henry Abbott Technical High School. She has worked for 16 years at a trade publication in Newtown helping run a myriad of business operations from accounts receivable to proofreading advertisements to in-house IT help.
Most importantly, though, the 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job comes with a great deal of flexibility, which will be important for one of the more demanding and most important elected positions in the city, she said.
Most recently she also helped lead an effort through the Danbury Area Justice Network to implement new training that will help teachers and staff better communicate with LGBTQ students and same-sex parents. District leaders are working on the plan to incorporate it into the next school year’s training regimen.
Filling Molinaro’s seat will cap what has been an unusual year for the board, with three new members stepping in to fill terms. Former board chairman Ralph Pietrafesa was picked to re-join the board in November and one year ago Emanuela Palmares was appointed to fill a much-disputed seat left open after the 2017 elections.
Conetta has received the support of current school board members and other elected officials, such as new state Sen. Julie Kushner, who seconded her nomination Monday night.
“I couldn’t think of anybody better qualified ... We couldn’t have a better person to fill that spot right now,” Democratic Committee Vice Chairman Joe DaSilva Jr. said. “The board of education is by far the toughest elected position not named mayor. It is a ton of time; a ton of committment. Credit goes out to anybody willing to jump up and volunteer.”