NORWALK, Conn. The four Republican Board of Education candidates released brief biographies of themselves in preparation for the upcoming November elections.
A note of explanation on the Norwalk school board elections: Residents vote for Board of Education members every two years. This November, elections for five district seats will be held. You can vote for the candidate in your district only. In two years, all of the city's residents can vote for the board's four at-large seats.
Matthew Surapine (District A: Central Norwalk) is a professional tenor who has performed with leading opera companies across the country. Originally from Enfield, he moved to Norwalk with his wife and three daughters in 2000. His two oldest daughters attend Brien McMahon High School in the Center for Global Studies and are active in the Drama Department and color guard. His youngest is at Ponus Ridge Middle School. His family has hosted Japanese exchange students for the last two years and enjoys sharing cultures, ideas and music. Surapine has been a strong advocate for the arts, volunteering at his childrens various theatrical productions at school, as well as with the Crystal Theatre. He is a founding partner of the Grace Charitable Foundation, which presents concerts to raise money for families in need.
Mike Lyons (District C: East Norwalk) is an attorney working for Covidien (formerly U.S. Surgical). Mike has three children: Two went through the Norwalk schools and on to college, and one is a sophomore at Norwalk High School. He graduated from Norwalk High in 1973, received his bachelor's in psychology from Fairfield University in 1977 and a joint juris doctor/master's of business administration degree from Boston College Law School in 1982. He served four years on the Common Council, including a term as president; four years on the Zoning Commission; and is in his sixth year on the Board of Estimate & Taxation. Lyons has a long history of involvement in Norwalks schools, including chairmanship of the School Council that adopted the accelerated school reform model at Marvin Elementary.
Jack Chiaramonte (District D: Cranbury, West Rocks and Silvermine) is completing his fourth year on the Board of Education and is serving as its chair and as a member of its Finance and Negotiations Committees. Chiaramonte has two children in the Norwalk Public Schools. A local businessman, he has pushed for openness and accountability for the school system. During his tenure, the Board of Education hired Superintendent Susan Marks, balanced the school budgets in tough fiscal times with no loss of student programs, improved communications with the public and opened up school board committee meetings to promote the public's direct involvement in school board discussions.
Geoff Kieburtz (District E: West Norwalk and Rowayton) is a partner at Weeden & Co. and an oil field services analyst. Kieburtz has two children who went through the Norwalk schools. He and his wife Linda have been involved with the Norwalk Public Schools from 1988 until 2010, and Linda has been a member of the Norwalk Mentor Program for more than seven years. Kieburtz graduated from Stanford University with a bachelor's in mechanical engineering in 1978 and received a master's in public and private management from the Yale School of Management in 1988. His community involvement has included serving on the Rowayton Tennis Association board, as a youth soccer coach, as a Little League coach and as beach director of the Rowayton Beach Association.
There is no Republican candidate this year from District B, South Norwalk.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.