West Hartford has an elected seven-member Board of Education which is required by State Statute and Town Charter to oversee public education.
The Board's major duties are: to set policies concerning educational, organizational, and financial matters; to monitor and evaluate the administration of its policies; and to recommend annual operating and capital budgets to the Town Council.
- Dr. Lorna Thomas-Farquharson - Chair
- Ms. Deb Polun - Vice-Chairperson
- Dr. Ari Steinberg - Secretary
- Dr. Jason Oliver Chang
- Clare Neseralla
- Dr. Gayle Harris
- Ethan Goldman
Dr. Lorna Thomas-Farquharson has lived in West Hartford since 2000. Growing up on the South Shore of Massachusetts, Lorna received a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Spelman College and Master’s and Doctorate degrees in Clinical Psychology from the University of Hartford. For over twenty years she had strived to educate and empower individuals to address challenges and improve the quality of their lives. She is passionate about community outreach and demystifying stigma associated with receipt of formal mental health care. Lorna works as a program manager at Connecticut’s Office of Early Childhood where she is fortunate to work with individuals who share a vision focused on equity, where all children are safe, healthy, learning, and thriving.
Lorna values community service and firmly believes in the African proverb It Takes a Village to Raise a Child. She volunteers within the youth department at her church and is honored to have been elected in 2017 to the West Hartford Board of Education where she now serves as Vice Chair. Lorna values education and implementing effective policies that support development of well-rounded youth, where excellence is defined by thriving academically, socially, and emotionally and where the values of learning extend beyond the walls of a classroom.
Lorna and her husband Jerome are proud parents of two daughters, Julianna and Gabrielle, who are West Hartford Public School students.
Deb Polun and her husband Ian have lived in West Hartford since 1999. They have two children: Jordan, a Senior Software Developer, and Megan, a junior at Bryant University. Both of their children attended Aiken Elementary, King Philip Middle School, and Hall High School.
Deb is the executive director of the CT Association for Community Action (CAFCA). In that role, she works with CT’s 9 community action agencies to eradicate the causes and conditions of poverty and help low-income people move towards economic self-sufficiency. Deb is a longtime member of the League of Women Voters of Greater Hartford and the Jewish Community Relations Council. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut (M.A., 1997) and Tulane University (B.S., 1994).
Ari Steinberg is a Clinical Psychologist and works at the Institute of Living as the Clinical Supervisor of the Child and Adolescent Ambulatory Division. She oversees and manages all of the clinical aspects of the outpatient services including providing direct supervision of clinical staff, developing the clinical programming for outpatient departments, and assisting in the referral process for the programs. Previously, she worked at Grace S. Webb School, a therapeutic day school, at the Institute of Living providing direct clinical care and administering psychological assessments for students. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at The University of South Florida and completed her internship and postdoctoral training at The Institute of Living.
Ari is currently serving her first term on the Board of Education. Given her strong background in clinical psychology, Ari brings to the board a strong understanding of the mental health needs of school-aged children and how they can be supported by educational policy. More specifically, her education and training can help to provide different insights, especially with respect to the emotional, behavioral, and psychological needs of our students and families.
Ari and her husband, Howard, have an eighteen-year-old daughter, Riley, and a fifteen-year old son, Alexander. They have been members of the Aiken, Bristow, and King Philip communities. Currently, they are part of the parent community at Hall High School.
Dr. Ari Steinberg
Jason Oliver Chang is Associate Professor of History and Asian American Studies at the University of Connecticut where he also serves as the Director of the Asian and Asian American Studies Institute. He earned his PhD in Ethnic Studies from the University of California, Berkeley and a Masters in Public Policy and Administration from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is author of scholarly books, articles, and museum exhibits.
As a public servant he sits on the Board of Education for West Hartford Public Schools, the Governor’s Hate Crimes Advisory Council and the State Historical Records and Archives Board. He is the co-founder of Make Us Visible CT a grassroots organization that advocates for and creates Asian American and Pacific Islander studies curriculum.
With his partner, Julie, a creative writing instructor at UConn, they have three children who attend West Hartford Public Schools.
Dr. Jason Oliver Chang
Clare Neseralla brings extensive experience in education, a commitment to working with children, and a track record of getting results. Clare and her husband are current members of the Sedgwick Middle School community and are past Duffy Elementary School parents. She taught for sixteen years at Duffy in both 3rd and 5th grade.
Clare is the STEM Curriculum Coach at CREC Discovery Academy and supports teachers, students and families in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Clare worked twenty years in media and marketing and ran her own marketing business for computer software companies before becoming a teacher. Her business foundation gave her a unique perspective in the classroom in creating real-world tasks. Clare’s interest in Global Education led her to travel to Japan and Brazil, to visit schools, meet with parents and connect with teachers across the United States. She is a winner of the NEA Innovation Award and brought GPS technology to the West Hartford District and was honored as Citizen of The Year by the West Hartford Fire Department. She also won the CEA Award for Teaching Excellence and three CECA Technology Integration awards.
Clare has worked with children for over twenty years empowering them to make a difference in the world. An active community member, Neseralla has served on the Hello! West Hartford Board as Communications Director and Treasurer as well as the CECA (Connecticut Educators Computer Association) as the Treasurer. She received a bachelor's degree in Broadcast Communications from Central Michigan University and master's degree in Elementary Education from the University of Hartford. She also has her 6th year in education comprised of STEM classes from Central Connecticut University, Leslie University and Columbia NASA Endeavor program.
I have been a resident of West Hartford for most of the last 50 years. I attended the WHPS and UCONN Medical School. I raised my four children in town. I have practiced medicine in town for the last 20 years working in private practice as an OBGYN. I am active in my synagogue and religious life in town. I have been a DCF mentor at the Village and have worked with incarcerated women helping improve health outcomes in this population.
Dr. Gayle Harris
Ethan Goldman and his wife Julie have lived in West Hartford since 1989. All four of their children have grown up in West Hartford.
Ethan received a Bachelor of Science in Economics (BSE) from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) from the University of Pennsylvania’s Faculty of Arts and Science. He is a graduate of the Harvard Business School (Harvard University) with a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) and also a graduate of the University of Hartford, with a Masters in Accounting and Taxation (MSAT).
Ethan is currently working as the CFO of a midsize (international) manufacturing company. Prior to his current position, Ethan worked at ADVO as their Vice President of Network Planning. He had also has worked in Retail – for Ames Stores as their Director of Pull Replenishment. Ethan is a CPA (State of Maryland non practicing license) and worked for the public accounting firms, Coopers and Lybrands (Boston) and Touche Ross (Baltimore).
Ethan spent over twenty years in the US Army/Army Reserve in the Army’s Field Artillery branch, retiring as a Major.
Ethan is currently serving as the Treasurer of the West Hartford Youth Soccer Assn (WHYSA) and coached in the WHYSA (Boys/Coed League) and WHGSL (Girls) for approximately fifteen years. He is also a Trustee of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Hartford and previously served on the Board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford as its Treasurer.
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