Power Of One Makes Difference In Education

Written by The Day Staff Writer.


 It's amazing what a mother can do when she puts her mind to something. Just a couple months ago Lydia Benedict penned an opinion piece for The Day opposing the superintendent's plans to lengthen the school day by 25 minutes.

 Like many, I figured the plan was a done deal and that Ms. Benedict was wasting her time taking on a plan championed by the powerful superintendent Jack Reynolds. Obviously this willingness to take on power runs in the Benedict family.


 But Ms. Benedict's essay was about a lot more than 25 minutes, and it ignited a series of debates and changes that were sorely needed in our town. The fallout still hasn't stopped. Parents and teachers have rallied; residents have packed public forums; news articles have been written; the school board rescinded its decision; and an ugly censure letter issued by the superintendent to one of the district's most popular teachers and coaches — Andy Dousis — came to light, prompting some parents to call for Mr. Reynolds' resignation. That was just the first chapter of this story.

 Now Ms. Benedict and another parent, Marlene Nickerson, have announced they will run for the Board of Education. Then Andy Dousis announced he would run, too. Days after Mr. Dousis declared his candidacy, Mr. Reynolds abruptly resigned to take a job elsewhere. This has been more drama than the theater. I don't know if this town has ever been this jazzed. And to think, it all began when one woman took a stand against 25 minutes. Ms. Benedict clearly has a spark. As an East Lyme High School alumna, I say: You go, girl.