Jonathan Steckler new chairman of Ridgefield school board

The Ridgefield school board's new leadership includes vice chairman, Ken Sjoberg, left, and chairman Jonathan Steckler. Sjoberg, and Steckler are in this photo after the Democratic caucus during a previous summer.

The Ridgefield school board’s new leadership includes vice chairman, Ken Sjoberg, left, and chairman Jonathan Steckler. Sjoberg, and Steckler are in this photo after the Democratic caucus during a previous summer.

Peter Yankowski / Hearst Connecticut Media

A new chairman, Jonathan Steckler, will lead the school board into what seems sure to be a challenging new year.

He will be joined by a new vice chairman, Ken Sjoberg, and a new board secretary, Rachel Ruggeri.

Steckler, who’d been serving as the board’s vice chairman, was nominated for the position by outgoing chairwoman Margaret Stamatis during the board’s annual election of officers Monday night.

Stamatis described him as “a collaborative, supportive and even-keeled partner” in helping lead the board in its work.

Steckler is “well respected by our board, the administration, and I believe he’s also well respected and trusted by other boards in town and community members,” Stamatis said.

Kathleen Holz nominated Sjoberg to be vice chairman uner Steckler.

“I think you’d be a wonderful ying to his yang,” she said.

The vote was 8-to-1, with board member Liz Flogel in dissent, on both the Steckler and Sjoberg nominations. The election of Ruggeri was unanimous.

Steckler offered a few thoughts.

“It has been whirlwind three months,” he said of the school year.

He noted the challenges facing the town and schools had been discussed at last week’s triboard meeting of the selectmen, school board and finance board.

“It was a productive meeting, “ he said.

All town boards will be grappling with the work of “budgeting in the time of COVID,” he said.

Steckler said that at the triboard meeting he was struck by finance board chairman’s Dave Ulmer observation that the town was not projected to have extra “fund balance” money to use to soften the blow budget increases on the taxpayers, as has been the practice in recent years.

“Mr. Ulmer said the Board of Education’s approved budget increase will be the town’s tax increase,” he said.

Superintendent of Schools Susie Da Silva offered a few thoughts on working with outgoing chairwoman Stamatis, who remains on the board.

“I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work alongside Margaret,” she said. “Margaret was a great partner.”