In a unanimous vote Monday evening, the New Haven Public School District’s Board of Education elected Daisy Gonzales the president of the BOE. Gonzales will succeed Mayor Toni Harp.
Gonzales, who was nominated by board member Carlos Torre, will take the position after Harp declared last week that she would not run for re-election after her yearlong term ended. Harp oversaw the election, for which seven of 10 other board members were present.
Along with Gonzales, Edward Joyson was elected as vice president and Darnell Goldson, secretary. Gonzales, an NHPS parent, had told the News in an interview last week that she intended to prioritize making sure that parent and teacher voices are heard. Joyson and Goldson are the two elected members on the BOE.
“You have to sit down and listen to your front line,” she said. “Our front line, our foundation, is the teachers. They’re the ones that are actually there educating our kids; they’re the backbone of this system.”
Gonzales also said she wants to look out for vulnerable children — those with special needs and life-threatening allergies — and ensure district policies are up to date.
Gonzales said she would run to make sure the board is “getting the work done,” adding that it might take someone who had never worked in the school system like herself. Having a parent like herself on the BOE might increase parental involvement, she added.
In addition to serving on the BOE, Gonzales has volunteered throughout the district and served as president of the Parent Teacher Organization at the East Rock Community Magnet School, which her sons attended. She said she also has numerous nieces and nephews in the school system.
“I want all of our students to be successful, which I know they can be,” she said. “I want them to know the board of education is here for them.”
Gonzales presided over the BOE for the first time at Monday’s meeting before time for public comments. Harp congratulated Gonzales as she passed on her position.
Other BOE members expressed support for the new president in interviews with the News last week.
Coral Ortiz, one of two high school students on the BOE, said she believes a change in leadership will be positive and might ease tensions on the board, as some board members believed Harp created a conflict of interest by serving as both mayor and BOE president. Meanwhile, Goldson said he hopes the change will continue to move the district in a positive direction.
Harp was first elected mayor in 2013.