Government Schools

West Hartford Board of Education Member Announces Resignation

Jason Oliver Chang. Courtesy photo (we-ha.com file photo)

Jason Chang announced Tuesday that he will step down from the West Hartford Board of Education following the June 6 meeting.

By Ronni Newton

Jason Chang, who has been a member of the West Hartford Board of Education in July 2020 and currently serves in role of secretary, announced Tuesday night that he will be stepping down following the last meeting of the school year, which is scheduled for June 6.

Chang had been appointed to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Sean Passan on June 2, 2020, and successfully ran for election in November 2021 to complete the remaining two years of Passan’s term. His position was up for reelection this November.

He is an associate professor of History and Asian/Asian American Studies and director of the Asian and Asian American Studies Institute at UConn and is also a member of the Governor’s Hate Crimes Advisory Council.

Chang shared the following statement:

“I am taking this opportunity to announce my intent to resign from the board after the last meeting of the school year. I am stepping down from the Board to spend more time expanding the reach of my AAPI K-12 programs and spend more time with my family.

“I want to thank my board colleagues and  everyone I’ve worked with in the school district for their partnership and steadfast commitment to making our schools more inclusive, equitable, and accountable to the most vulnerable among us. I have learned so much from you. My life has been transformed by public service on this Board.

“I have been inspired to do things I never considered possible. I joined communities across the state to pass two bi-partisan bills on AAPI K-12 education. Due to my education advocacy, I was appointed to the Governor’s Hate Crimes Advisory Council to Chair the Community Awareness Subcommittee where we are working to make our schools safer and more inclusive by countering bias, bullying, and intimidation and building a 21st century civic culture. I was elected to the UConn Faculty Senate’s Executive Committee where I bring what I’ve learned here to the shared governance of the University and pursuing the wellbeing of our students in higher education.

“Talking the talk, requires one to walk the walk. So the big task ahead of me is my partnership with the State Department of Education to lead a design team in building our first AAPI K-8 Model Curriculum due in January … and to expand the Early College Experience offering of UConn’s Introduction to Asian American Studies course to our state’s high schools. While I won’t be joining you on the board, I will continue to support the work of educating the next generation of leaders.

“I want to thank all the voters who supported me and all the families who have included me in their conversations about how important inclusion and equity are for our schools. Most of all I’m looking forward to spending more time with my family, I plan to make up for all the missed bedtimes and family meals. In leaving the board of education I’m excited for someone else to be transformed by public service.

“Also given the budgetary conditions of the district I want to decline the typical gift for recognition of service. Just save the money and put towards the $700k shortfall. I want to thank everyone for their support. It has been an immense pleasure serving with you all.”

Board members will say their good-byes to Chang at the next meeting, which will be his last and the last of the academic year, but Superintendent Paul Vicinus noted “what a powerful impact” Chang has had on the Board.

Board of Education policy dictates that the vacancy must be filled within 90 days. If the individual appointed to complete Chang’s term wants to remain a member, they will also have to seek election in November 2023.

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