The Board of Education unanimously elected officers at its Thursday meeting, from left, Neil Phillips as secretary, Dorie Hordon as vice chair and Lee Goldstein as chair. / Contributed photos

By Linda Conner Lambeck

WESTPORT —  The Board of Education elected officers, welcomed a new board member and announced the imminent departure of another at Thursday night’s meeting.

Christina Torres, a Democrat elected to the board two years ago, said she reluctantly submitted a letter of resignation to the Town Clerk’s Office this week. The resignation is effective Jan. 1.

“It just so happens I need to be moving forward in my career,” said Torres, an assistant school superintendent in Westchester County.

Christina Torres is stepping down from the school board,

She said work changes will make it hard for her to give undivided attention to her role as a board member.

The town charter calls for her replacement to be a registered voter in Westport and a Democrat. The Democratic Town Committee is expected to recommend an appointee to fill the remaining two years of Torres’ term, but the final decision will be made by school board members.

Moments earlier, the board voted to keep Democrats Lee Goldstein and Neil Phillips as chair and secretary, respectively, while electing Republican Dorie Hordon as the panel’s new vice chair. All three votes were unanimous.

Hordon replaces Liz Heyer, who in the Nov. 7 municipal election was elected to the Board of Finance.

Both Goldstein and Phillips were elected to new terms in November.

In nominating Hordon, Republican board member Robert Harrington, who said that although they don’t always agree, they communicate effectively together

He called Hordon persistent and bold as she remains true to her beliefs. When she challenged the district’s equity study, he said, it provided a bridge that helped ease concerns by skeptical members of the community.

Torres nominated Goldstein for a new term as the board’s chair.

“I can think of no better nominee,” said Torres, citing Goldstein’s experience navigating challenging times and issues with grace. “She demonstrates the kind of leadership needed in the face of such important topics.”

Board member Kevin Christie nominated Phillips, calling him the consummate public servant.

“He genuinely seeks to understand all viewpoints prior to board action,” said Christie. “Always with the best interest of all students in mind.”

Thursday’s meeting was also the first for Jill Dillon, an unaffiliated voter who successfully waged a write-in campaign to win a board seat in November.

Freelance writer Linda Conner Lambeck, a reporter for more than four decades at the Connecticut Post and other Hearst publications, is a member of the Education Writers Association.