[Updated] Election 2013: Tolland Board of Education Candidates

Election Day is Tuesday.

Here is a look at Tolland's Board of Education candidates. Profiles were furnished by the respective partioes: 


Alfred E Fratoni, Jr.             

Birthdate: 4/16/55
38 Sherry Circle
Education - BS Degree/Accounting  UCONN
Elected to Budget Committee, Town of Buxton, Maine in 2011 for a 2 year period.
Served as Vice Chair of the Committee in 2013.
Re-elected to Budget Committee in 2013.
Chairman of Ledyard, CT Republican Town Committee 1998-2000
Member of Ledyard Charter Revision Commission, 2001-2002


E. Steve Clark
Birthdate - Sept 27, 1947
29 Meadowood Rd
Occupation - Retired (Logistics and Transportation Management - 40 years)
Education - BA, Wofford College, Graduate Work, University of South Carolina - Political Science, Public Administration
4 Terms Tolland BOE (Current Incumbent)
4 BOE Space Assessment Committees
2 BOE Educational Specifications Committees (Birch Grove School and Addition)
Birch Grove Primary School-- Member of Building CommitteeBirch Grove Primary School Addition--Chairperson of Building CommitteeBaxter Farms Community Water Assoc.--Member of Executive Board and Past President


Bob Pagoni
Birthdate - Dec 17, 1955
27 Barbara Road
Commercial Airline Pilot
Education - BA UCONN Political Science 1977, MA Pepperdine Univ Human Resources Management 1981, All 3 Levels of Air Force Officer Professional Military Education (PME)10 Years Member of the Tolland Board of Education
Retired from U.S. Air Force 30 years (Active Duty, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve.
Participated in multi-million dollar and multi-year projects in military and PME Programs for leadership and business management. Both undergraduate and graduate degrees.


Joseph Sce

Birthdate: 7-22-65

37 Usher Ridge

Tax director, North America for Alstom

BS Finance, master's degree in Taxation 

I have only been a member of the Tolland BOE since November of last year. However, my experience in the finance area provides expertise in budgeting and fiscal responsibility. At the same time, having three kids in the school system ensures my concern for a quality educational system. 


Karen Kramer
Birthdate - 6/13/1961
55 Midland Drive
Stay at Home Mom
Education - B.B.A. Finance, Florida Atlantic University; A.A. Business Administration, Palm Beach Community College; A.S.C. Professional Photography, Daytona Beach Community College
Tolland Board of Education since 2011
Tolland Board of Assessment Appeals, 4 years
Connecticut Conference of Municipal Assessors courses: IA, IB, IIA
Business Research Analyst, 5 years


Sam Adlerstein

Age 52

Personal:  My wife Sukoshi and I have lived in Tolland for 20 years, raising our two boys, Luke (14) and Owen (12).  We chose Tolland because of the small town community with good schools, acres of open space, and miles of hilly tree lined roads.  I have Alopecia (hair loss ailment), so you can pick me out in the crowd,

Previous political experience: Chairperson, Friends of Tolland Schools.  Facilitator, school dialogue with the community.  Member, Tolland Energy Taskforce.
Background: Certified Business Coach, facilitator.  Experienced in process improvement, financial management, and organizational change initiatives. 
Why are you running for office? 
This past Spring, I thought about running for BoE, and decided... naw.  I was already volunteering for enough stuff, like others I too much on my plate.  I had directly experienced some BoE issues that I wanted addressed, and, frankly, I was looking for someone else to do it.  Then I noted how Tolland is a first rate volunteer community, home of dozens of civic, school and sports organizations.  My sons have had amazing soccer, baseball and basketball coaches, and it takes a huge unpaid effort to make those programs successful.  I then decided I would like to invest my time toward the BoE, and contribute to and belong to a better Tolland community.
What in your opinion, is The Board of Education's biggest issue? 
Trustworthiness is the biggest issue, and it's the proverbial elephant in the room.  Town and School leaders can't effectively partner with others in town if we first don't partner well with ourselves.  The conflict between the Board of Education and Town Council is very expensive to residents.  Many a good leader has suffered this frustration and dysfunction.  First, there are direct costs, then there is the time spent.  Improvement and savings are more likely when everyone is aligned toward the same goals and intentions from the start.  
What would you change, if anything, about how the Board of Education is run and/or communicates with the community?
With that alignment, we must improve our capability within our means.  Stop aspiring to be the cheapest town in the state and start aspiring to continually become better.  We cut snow plowing, park hours, field and road maintenance, and necessary personnel.  Our community is less desirable for it.  We end up still paying, AND feeling like we are not getting much in return.
Unclear communication is a symptom of putting costs above all else.  People naturally defend what they have.  Our budget process sometimes looks like defensiveness along side interrogation.  
Put capability improvement first and look for ways that don't increase costs.  Create ongoing, two-way, face to face collaboration between decision makers.  Move past taxing being the myopic focus of our planning, as if there was a side to take.

In the process, model a town climate where children feel supported.  Improving the tone of the conversation costs us nothing and contributes toward saving money.  Moving past unnecessary leadership divides, we then work to blur other dividing lines, between parents, seniors, athletes, musicians, artists, businesses, teachers, administrators, learners of all ages.  With that, we better utilize all that our schools and school infrastructure have to offer.  

Miranda Wojnar 

Age:  33 

My husband Jason and I have three sweet boys and a tolerant yellow lab: Andrew, (6 years and 1st Grade), Matthew (4 years and Tolland COOP), Benjamin (2 years and Tolland COOP), and Toba (8 years old).  My husband is also the owner of a local Eastern CT company providing jobs to over 40 CT employees.   We have lived at Cortland Drive in Tolland for 6 years.

Previous political experience:  Member of Friends of Tolland Schools, Participated in numerous Tolland Town Council and Board of Education meetings

Other Experience:  Elementary classroom teacher, Science curriculum specialist

Why are you running for office?  I want to improve the educational and extra curricular opportunities for children in our town.  It is also important to me to give back to my community.  I am passionate about providing excellent educational opportunities to our future community members.  Finally, I want to be a voice and partner for young families in town.  Long term goals are a key element to the decisions being made.

What strengths do you bring to your office?  I am a former educator and am certified PK-12.  I have taught preschool to high school in a variety of districts - urban, suburban and rural.  This range of experiences helps me to understand the challenges our principals and teachers face daily.  As I consider decisions, I will always value the expertise and knowledge of our local school staff while also listening to the goals of our community members and town leadership.  I believe it is important to have someone with educational experience to help navigate the educational decisions being made for our students.

What would you change, if anything, about how the Tolland is run and/or communicates with the community?  Communication between the Board of Education, Town Council, Residents and Schools needs to be improved.  My experience in the classroom will help to bridge the sharing of information between our town & school leaders and community members.

Patrick Doyle

Age:  38

My wife Amanda (a teacher of 14 years) and I have lived in Tolland for 8 years.  We live on Lakeview Drive Extension with our son Drew who is a first grader at Birch Grove Primary School.

 Previous political experience:  I have experience working on and with boards of non-profit organizations. This would be my first time serving in public office.  

Other Experience:  I have a passion for education and feel lucky to have been a national trainer in youth leadership, developing effective partnerships between schools and community-based organizations.  I have overseen a $2.9 million annual investment focused on improving education in our region, and served as a steering committee member of Hartford Area Child Care Collaborative.  I was also the lead author of Service-Learning Impacting Citizenship, a curriculum and program designed to help young people become more civically involved.

I work as a non-profit/education professional with over 15 years of experience developing and managing programs and grants.  I have demonstrated the ability to work successfully across diverse settings to bring together educators, community-based organizations, and volunteers to improve communities.

Why are you running for office?  My experience is grounded by the insights I have gained as the spouse of a teacher, as the father of a great kid, and as a facilitator of conversations with people about their aspirations for our community. I know by listening and working together we can make the education students in Tolland earn and receive even better.

What is something the Tolland Board of Education can do better?  Everyone should be able to walk into a Board of Education meeting and understand the proceedings without tracking down large documents ahead of time.  When residents are invited to contribute and share their opinions and they can stand behind students, those students can excel, and Tolland will continue to thrive. 

Tolland has excellent schools, but there is room for improvement.  Specifically, the Board of Education has taken the time to develop a strategic plan, but these efforts have fallen short of identifying a clear and concise set of priorities.  These priorities need to be created and communicated so all residents of Tolland have the information to more easily contribute to Board of Education decisions and to the budget process.

Kathy Gorsky

Age: 46

I have lived on Gehring Rd. in Tolland for 17 years.  I have been married to Tom Gorsky for 22 years and have two daughters, Katie (age 17) and Shannon (age 13).

Previous community involvement:  I have served the Town of Tolland as a volunteer for many years; most notably, I was a Girl Scout leader for 7 years and I have been an active member of the Friends of Tolland Music group as well. 

Other Experience:  I am a graduate of the University of Connecticut School of Law and a member of the Connecticut Bar Association.   I have worked as a substitute teacher in the Tolland School District, giving me hands-on experience within our schools. 

Why are you running for office? I'm running for office because I feel that our schools have the potential for excellence and I would like to help them reach that goal.  I am passionate about education and I want to help our kids as they prepare for a great future.  My work as a substitute teacher in Tolland has given me the opportunity to see that we have exceptionally talented and dedicated individuals working for the benefit of our children.  It's important to me that we help these individuals to do their jobs effectively while also respecting and understanding the needs of our citizens.

What strengths do you bring to the table? My substitute teaching experience has afforded me a unique understanding of the day-to-day needs and pressures that are felt by the staff in our schools.  In addition, my law background provides me with the tools to understand many of the legal issues that arise in town government.  I have the ability to closely examine and recognize pros and cons of both sides of an issue and come to a well-reasoned decision.

What in your opinion, is Tollands biggest issue? I would love to see better communication between town government and residents of the community.  It would be great if citizens felt that they had the opportunity to effectively communicate their ideas to their elected representatives.  Additionally, improved communication between the Town Council and the Board of Education could help us to share both ideas and resources. 

Karen Moran 

Age: 45
Married to Kevin for 17 years. We have two children - Robyn age 11, and Jordan age 8. We have lived on Merlot Way in Tolland for 15 years.

Previous political experience: None, but very involved in my community.

Other Experience: President, Tolland Elementary PTO 2011-2013, an avid volunteer in our schools, member of Friends of Tolland Schools, former member of Tolland Friends and Neighbors.

Why are you running for office?  Simply put, I think Tolland is a wonderful community and has a lot going for it. I would like to be part of preserving and improving what we have here. Many families like mine settled in Tolland because of its sense of community and a school system with an excellent reputation. I believe we are very lucky here in Tolland to have hard-working, dedicated administrators, teachers and staff. This is another aspect we need to preserve in our town…for the sake of our students – our future citizens and leaders. We need to provide a great public school system where our staff can do their best and our students can thrive and be ready to face the challenges in a 21st century world. 

What strengths can you bring to the table?  My PTO experience and involvement in our schools has allowed me to have a unique perspective and I would like to continue to support our schools at a higher level.  Organizing, marketing and fundraising skills helped me to lead a PTO volunteer group that successfully raised needed funds for our elementary schools. 
What would you change, if anything, about how the Board of Education is run and/or communicates with the community?   A better working relationship between the BOE and the Town Council is certainly needed. I also believe there are more ways to reach out past our school community to embrace the whole community in the importance of a strong public school system.

Tom Frattaroli

Age: 56

My wife, Patty and I bought property in Tolland in 1984. Together we built our house surrounded by a 1,000-acre wood and raised our 3 children. Two have gone through the Tolland school system, four-year colleges and are out on their own. Our youngest daughter is 16, has our undivided attention, and wishes she was on her own. All in due time.

Previous Political Experience: Board of Education, 2007 - present

Other Experience:

  • Tolland resident for 20 years, married with 3 children, 1 attending Tolland schools
  • Former indoor soccer coach
  • Former secretary, Tolland Soccer Club
  • Host family for foreign exchange students.
  • Occupation: Self-employed licensed building contractor
  • Tolland Democratic Town Committee member

Why are you running for office? Tolland has always had a good reputation for a strong school system. I believe every resident in town is proud of being able to prepare our children for the challenges they will face as they become contributing members of our society. Keeping that system in tune with our emerging academic, athletic and financial needs and delivering that message to our community is my goal and my reason for wanting to continue my service on the board.

q November 04, 2013 at 08:25 AM
Chris - why aren't Joe Sce and Karen Kramer listed for the Republicans? And why such a different format for the Democrats vs Republicans? Did you write this article? It just says "posted by".
Bob Smith November 04, 2013 at 09:14 AM
Are there external sites where you can read more about the candidates?
Josh Freeman November 04, 2013 at 09:29 AM
The Democrats have http://tollanddemocrats.org/candidates-corner/ a facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Democrats4Tolland and are on twitter at https://twitter.com/voices4tolland The Republicans website is http://tollandrepublicans.com/
Chris Dehnel (Editor) November 04, 2013 at 10:00 AM
I prefer to address people who use real names, but in this case I will answer. This is what the parties furnished. I have requested the missing profiles.
benstan_79 November 04, 2013 at 10:15 AM
For more information on the achievements and goals of the current Republican majority on the Board of Education and the rest of the Republican candidates please go to http://tollandrepublicans.com/ Please exercise your rights and Vote on Tuesday November 5th. Benjamin Stanford - TRTC Campaign 2013 Co-Chair


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