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Meet the Candidate: Lorna Thomas-Farquharson

Lorna Thomas-Farquharson. Courtesy photo

We-Ha.com is offering our readers the opportunity to meet the candidates running in the Nov. 2, 2021 municipal election.

Compiled by Ronni Newton

We-Ha.com is offering our readers the opportunity to “Meet the Candidate” – designed to help them get to know the candidates running for office in the 2021 municipal election.

Identical questionnaires have been sent to all candidates, and each profile received has been submitted directly to We-Ha.com by the candidate or the candidate’s campaign management. The responses have not been edited but have been formatted to match our publication style. Questions left blank have been deleted.

As profiles are received, they will be published on We-Ha.com under the “Government” tab. We-Ha.com is not making endorsements of any political candidates but we are publishing this information in order to assist voters in being informed and prepared when they go to the polls on Nov. 2.

If you are a candidate and wish to submit a profile, please return it by email to Ronni Newton at [email protected] as soon as possible.

Name: Lorna Thomas-Farquharson

Age: 45

Party, position seeking:Democrat, Board of Education

Family information: My husband Jerome and I have been married for 15 years. We are blessed with two daughters: Julianna who is in the 8th grade at Sedgwick Middle School, and Gabrielle who is in the 5th grade at Charter Oak International Academy.

Other occupation, if applicable: Program Manager at Connecticut Office of Early Childhood.

Political experience: Elected to the Board of Education in 2017; currently serving as Vice Chair

Other relevant experience:

  • Community Outreach Educator speaking on various topics such as effective communication, self-esteem, workplace etiquette, vicarious trauma and crisis management.
  • Parent Volunteer at Charter Oak International Academy
  • Charter Oak PTO: Past Cultural Council Parent Representative and Room Parent Coordinator
  • Volunteer annually for Charter Oak’s Cultural Day Celebration
  • Parent Leadership Training Institute Alumna, c/o 2016
  • Extensive experience working with children, adolescents, adults, and families striving to empower others to address challenges and improve their quality of life. This involves working collaboratively with parents/caregivers and community providers to address difficult and sensitive subject matters

Why are you running for office? I am running for re-election to the West Hartford Board of Education for I believe in supporting high quality education that promotes the development of well-rounded youth, where excellence is defined by thriving academically, socially, and emotionally and the values of learning extend beyond the walls of a classroom. I am committed to this town striving to be the best it can be, accomplishing this can only be done in partnership with a strong school system. The youth of today are our future leaders for tomorrow; education is a key factor needed to build a solid bridge into the future. Therefore, we must collectively work towards solidifying their educational foundation today in order to promote a promising tomorrow. Provision of high-quality education ensures our youth are well-rounded in their development and exposed to opportunities furthering their development academically, socially, and emotionally. I firmly believe in the African Proverb “It takes a village to raise a child” and every member of our community plays a valuable role in sustaining and uplifting the village. By serving on the BOE, one has the honor to be a member of a team whose primary charge is to ensure policies are in place, and a budget is developed, that supports and reinforces these overall goals.

What issue(s) are your primary area of focus?

  • Promoting development of well-rounded youth where scholastic excellence is based on academic performance as well as ensuring youth are enriched socially and emotionally. I believe it is important for our youth to be confident in who they are, strong at their core, and demonstrate resilience when faced with challenges. The pandemic is a clear example of a challenge all are experiencing in this very moment. West Hartford Public Schools often receive accolades for its excellent school system. What accentuates this fact is that WHPS serves students of all learning abilities and disabilities, students from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds where more than 70 languages are spoken, students from various socio-economic statuses, students representing various religions and country of origin, and students whose family structure is defined in different ways. ALL of these characteristics are what makes WHPS exceptional and allow our youth to experience the depth of the human experience from a well-rounded perspective.
  • Strengthening partnership between the home and school and the community recognizing how all play a role in educating our youth. In particular, it is important parents/caregivers of youth have open lines of communication with the school, and vice versa. The efficacy of this partnership will produce optimal and long-lasting benefits. A strengthened partnership especially holds true recognizing the unprecedented events our youth have experienced over the past 18 months.

What do you feel is the biggest issue facing West Hartford today, and how do you plan to address it if elected?

By far, the biggest issue facing West Hartford today is the pandemic and its impact on all facets of our community and those living within our community, especially our youth. WHPS received over $15 million dollars in federal funds as a result of the pandemic. These funds are intended to go towards areas directly impacted by the pandemic. However, allocation of funds requires a two-pronged approach, one responding to needs created by the pandemic, as well as recognizing pre-existing needs exacerbated by the pandemic. When distributing funding, it is important to strategically plan equitable allocation of funds in purposeful ways minimizing creation of a budget cliff.

Another issue facing West Hartford can instead be viewed as an area of growth giving evidence to strength of our town and school system. That being, when faced with a challenge, WHPS does not shy away from said challenge, rather views it as a teachable moment, or a learning opportunity to further grow and enrich our school system. Such an example is recognizing the importance of expanding our curriculum to include the wide historical perspective of African-American history. Our youth cannot learn and/or operate in silos of existence. It is important that we support their educational environment learning about the past in order to better understand the present. This way, we are helping to develop strong-minded, resilient youth with potential beyond measure for future success.

What do you feel differentiates you from other candidates also running for this position?

What sets me apart is my personal, professional, and public service background. Personally, as a mother with children in the WHPS system, I’ve been intimately involved in their learning since they started school. As a parent, I’ve served many years on the PTO Board at Charter Oak International Academy as a member and as a Cultural Council representative, I’ve volunteered for annual school activities/functions, and chaperoned many field trips.

Professionally, I’m trained in clinical psychology and keenly aware of the many dynamics playing a role in children’s development. Engaging with children and families with compassion, while being solution focused when addressing life challenges, is extremely important. As a program manager at Connecticut’s Office of Early Childhood, I’m often reminded of whom I serve, and that is the children and families in our community. Collaborating with others, while using resources to invest in our children, is paramount. Furthermore, operating through a lens of equity is essential as decisions are made and plans are operationalized.

My background as a public servant is interwoven throughout my personal and professional background. Before having the honor to serve on the BOE, I’ve served the public in various ways through community service involvement and organizational affiliations. Overall, it’s about servant leadership, before you can lead, you must serve. I believe my background overall shows a commitment to public service as well as servant leadership. These areas are not mutually exclusive, for as one leads, one can never forget those whom we are entrusted to serve.

Anything else you would like to share?

Thank you for taking the time to read my candidate profile and I hope to have your support on November 2nd!

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1 Comment

  • I have had the pleasure of knowing Lorna for many years. She is a woman of high integrity, exceptional intelligence, and immense compassion. Her commitment to public service and education is lifelong.

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