It was a historic moment on Tuesday when the Town Council unanimously appointed Michael Gonzalez to the South Windsor Board of Education.
Gonzalez is believed to be the first Democratic Latino to sit on the school board in the history of the town.
The significance of the moment was not lost on Gonzalez after he was sworn in by Town Clerk Lori Trahan.
“We know … that the Latin population continues to grow in this country,” Gonzalez said, noting the impact that group had on the recent national elections. “Seeing that happen now at the local level speaks volumes about what’s happened at the national level.”
Gonzalez, for his part, is looking forward to the challenge of serving.
“It’s just a tremendous opportunity to find out what the town’s about and getting involved, specifically in an area that I’m interested in: education.”
Indeed, Gonzalez currently works as an associate teacher at the Medical Professions and Teacher Preparation Academy through the Capital Region Educational Council. He is pursuing a Master’s degree in education at the University of Hartford.
Prior to his teaching career, Gonzalez 15 years in the non-profit sector of the criminal justice system. He graduated from Bulkeley High School in Hartford and holds a bachelor’s degree in human service from Springfield College.
Gonzalez has lived in South Windsor for the last 12 years and is married to Samantha Gonzalez. He has three children: Madison, 13, Kenadie, 9, and Jude, 6. Madison and Kenadie attend South Windsor public schools, while June is enrolled in a CREC school, Gonzalez said.
Michael Gonzalez’s appointment - it’s the first time he has held public office - comes at a critical period for the school board, both in the short and long runs. On the same night that he was sworn in, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kate Carter unveiled a $68.12 million spending package that includes a 3.97 percent spending increase over current levels.
“I’m really excited in seeing the process played out and how the budget gets approved,” Michael Gonzalez said.
In the future, the school district is expected to announce plans for how to renovate or replace the aging school buildings in town.
Gonzalez replaces Mark Abrahamson, who, citing professional obligations, submitted his letter of resignation to the school board last month.