Governor Ned Lamont appointed Karen Dubois-Walton ’89 — one of New Haven’s most prominent voices on affordable housing — to the State Board of Education on Tuesday.
Along with three other new appointees, Dubois-Walton will attend her first Board of Education meeting on Thursday. Dubois-Walton has served as the executive director of Elm City Communities — New Haven’s housing authority — for over a decade. She is also the president of the housing authority’s development and property management affiliates. Recently, she served as a member of newly-inaugurated mayor Justin Elicker’s transition team, working in particular on recommendations for the mayor’s housing goals. If confirmed by Connecticut’s General Assembly alongside the three other new appointees announced Tuesday, she will serve a four-year term as one of the Board of Education’s 10 voting members.
“Every student in Connecticut deserves a quality education, no matter where they live,” Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz wrote in a press release announcing the administration’s appointees. “Each of these women will bring quality professional experience to their new roles as members of the State Board of Education and I look forward to working with them to make our state’s education system more equitable.”
In an interview with the News on Wednesday, Dubois-Walton said that in earlier discussions with the governor’s office, his staff expressed interest in tapping into expertise in areas like housing, which are intimately connected with education issues.
She noted, for example, that education resources are typically distributed according to housing patterns and town demographics. Moreover, access to quality education in the state is often dependent upon socioeconomic status, which itself is linked to race and ethnicity, Dubois-Walton explained.
“We need equity for all children, and we can’t move forward leaving behind such a large swath of our children,” she said.
Lamont announced a total of four appointees to the state board on Tuesday. Alongside Dubois-Walton, the governor tapped Awilda Reasco, the director of Pre-Collegiate and Access Services at Central Connecticut State University, Martha Paluch Prou, the director of administration and compliance at an aerospace components manufacturer in Enfield and Bonnie Burr of the University of Connecticut College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources. Burr and Prou were appointed to fill seats designated for members with agricultural and manufacturing experience, respectively.
Dubois-Walton, a clinical psychologist, previously served as the Chief of Staff for former New Haven mayor John DeStefano. Prior to that, she worked at the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and the Child Study Center at Yale.
In addition to its 10 voting members who serve staggered terms, the board also consists of the president of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities, the chair of the Technical Education and Career System board and two high school students.
The board is responsible for setting academic standards and establishing education policy for each of Connecticut’s 149 local and 17 regional school districts. It also prepares legislative proposals and administers funding for Connecticut schools each year and serves as the Board of Education for the state’s technical high schools.
Talia Soglin | firstname.lastname@example.org