Board of Education

November 3rd, 2021:

We would like to take a moment to express our gratitude to the voters of Newtown for honoring us with their vote and electing us to represent the community on the Board of Education. We are excited to begin serving and working collaboratively with other Board of Education members to accomplish a common goal of providing the best education possible for the children of Newtown.

We are immensely grateful to our family, friends, and loyal supporters who generously contributed their time and effort to our campaign during this election season. We could not have succeeded without you and were humbled by your support.

We are extremely grateful to the Newtown Republican Town Committee for selecting us to represent the party and supporting our candidacy and vision for the teachers, students, administration, and taxpayers of Newtown. As first-time candidates running for elected positions, we would not have been successful without the unwavering support and guidance of Michelle Buzzi, William DeRosa, and Ryan Knapp.

We would also like to express appreciation to our opponents Jennifer Padilla and Dan Cruson, Jr, for their willingness to serve the community. Thank you for stepping up to the plate and running for such an important role. We look forward to working with Dan on the Board of Education and also with Jennifer and all of the parents in Newtown to provide our children with the best education experience possible.

Lastly, we would like to thank all voters, the ones who voted for us and the ones who did not. The tremendous turnout that occurred yesterday displays that we have an engaged electorate who deeply cares about Newtown and our children.

We thank you for this opportunity to serve.


Janet Kuzma, Jenn Larkin, Don Ramsey

Janet Kuzma

Janet Kuzma was born and raised in Newtown and a class of 2000 NHS graduate. After moving away for several years, she returned with her family in 2019. Janet is married to Kevin and the devoted mother to 4 children, Lily (12), Kendall (10), Brynn (7), and Braxton (7).

Janet has been heavily involved in her childrens education and has always been active in her childrens schools. She has filled the role of Class Mom many times, served as PTO President prior to moving to Newtown, and currently serves on the PTA board at Reed Intermediate School. She filled the role of district substitute last year when there was an immediate need due to Covid quarantines. She embraces the chaos of busy schedules and enjoys watching her children in all of their activities which include, music, theater, football, softball, baseball, basketball, and lacrosse, many of which her husband coaches.

Janets goal is to make sure all children are provided with the best education possible. Whether the children of Newtown are struggling, maintaining goals, or excelling, its crucial that children are given a fair and equitable education. Coming off an extremely challenging year, Janet would like to make sure the learning loss that occurred, due to the pandemic, gets addressed and is made a top priority. Having a student in Special Education, she saw firsthand how some of the most vulnerable students struggled even more. Her desire is to make sure the district maintains a high standard of excellence in our schools.

As a district substitute last year, Janet had many opportunities to witness the hard work and dedication of our teachers and staff. She knows that it is important to recognize the struggles the teachers faced, and continue to face while teaching during a pandemic. She believes that not only should the needs of students be addressed but it is also crucial to address the needs of the teachers and staff. She has no doubt that a motivated teacher creates a successful and motivated learner.

Janet is a self-employed family photographer and also a licensed cosmetologist. She strongly believes in cultivating student efforts on their interests, whether they want to pursue college, an advanced degree, or a skilled trade to become happy successful adults. She would love to serve on the Board of Education as a way to give back to the community and the children of Newtown.

Jennifer Larkin

I have lived in Newtown with my husband and two children Ryan(10) and Erin(9) since 2010. Like many families, when we were looking for a place to raise our kids, an excellent school district, and equally great the community was our top criteria, and we loved everything about Newtown then, and still do. Like many parents of younger kids, when I am not working, my free time is spent shuttling my kids between activities and youth sports including, football, baseball, softball, and basketball practice, or on the sidelines proudly (and loudly) cheering them on!

If elected, I would put a greater focus on academic achievement and assessing and addressing the recent learning loss. I think the biggest issue facing the district is the declining achievement of students, mostly as a result of covid. We have incredible teachers and a hard-working administration who all worked incredibly hard during the past year and a half. Helping close the learning gaps means we need to ensure an equal focus and support to be in place for teachers who are expected to provide high-quality, robust instruction to kids who are below, at, and above grade level.

I believe that every student in the district deserves an education that makes the whole town proud. Schools are places of hope and optimism and where our future leaders are able to gain the necessary skills to ensure their success. I believe in a modern growth mindset for education and place an equal value on trade and vocational opportunities, as well as advanced placement coursework. I am also the mother of a special education student, who struggled like many others have to get the proper services. It should not be this hard. I will advocate for professional development that focuses on early detection and proper intervention for students.

When it comes to the budget, we must spend it wisely. I believe in smart spending which means working more closely with the town and looking at ways to eliminate redundancies and share resources. Additionally, we must put an end to "no-bid" supplier contracts by having them competitively bid, to ensure that residents feel their hard-earned tax dollars are being spent wisely.

I received a Bachelor’s degree in English and Writing from Western Connecticut State University, and am currently employed as a Global Product Marketing leader at BlueCrest, in Danbury. I have formerly volunteered with Girl Scouts, Big Brother Big Sister, Literacy Volunteers of America, teaching English as a second language. For the past 5 years I have enjoyed being a room parent and being in the school buildings as much as possible. I look forward to working with a dynamic group of people who all show a passion for education and am eager to play a role in fulfilling Newtown’s Board of Education’s mission and goals.

Donald Ramsey

I believe that exemplary public schools are a powerful three way partnership between students, educators, and parents. The Newtown Board of Education sets policy, provides oversight, and maintains legal and fiscal integrity that benefits the entire community. My role, if elected to the board, is to help promote the highest level of excellence for teaching and student learning. I believe in practical vigorous professional development to concert with effective administrative leadership that inspires teachers in the classroom. I also believe that highly motivated teachers ignite highly motivated students to achieve excellence in all subject areas.

I have carried a professional mission over 40 years as an Educator in the public schools (25 in Norwalk and 15 in Newtown) and that is “to be a refreshing influence to all I meet”.

Now retired, my wife Maria and I have lived 25 years in Newtown. We have two adult children, four adult step children, one grand baby Sophia Grace (deceased), and six step grandchildren.

Technology Education Teacher for Newtown Public Schools from June 2002-June 2016.

I developed a State of Connecticut Department of Education Exemplary Technology Education Program at The Newtown Middle School.I was featured in various local and state print media, as well as, a national magazine blog for interactive teaching and a “museum like” classroom. In addition, I served on numerous committees for school improvement and provided professional development workshops for topics related to school climate, curriculum development, and teaching methodology. I was the “educator” board member for the Newtown Youth and Family Services and participated in a number of community activities with students and other teachers. I have been honored with the 2004-2005 “Teacher of The Year” at Newtown Middle School and 2015-2016 district wide “Profiles in Professionalism” awards.

During the course of my employment as a public school Educator in Norwalk from September 1977 -June 2002, I served in the capacities of Vocational Instructor, Work Study Coordinator/Career Counselor, High School Industrial Arts Teacher, Central Office Subject Area Supervisor, Interim Principal at the elementary and middle school level, and Middle School Technology Education Teacher. In addition, I have taught Adult Education, CETA Bilingual, and Summer School Supervision at the Alternative High School Program. I achieved State of Connecticut recognition in local print media including Star 99.9 FM which featured me on the morning program. I have presented numerous professional development workshops and served as a Resident CT BEST Program Assessor.

EDUCATION BACKGROUND: BS Secondary Education CCSU, MA and 6th Year CAS School Administration, Fairfield University.