Experience: Member of the Board of Education since 2018, Chair of the Board of Education's Facilities Committee, Former RTM Education member for 12 years (Chair for 5 years).
For Board of Education
For Board of Education
Re-Elect Duke and Dennis
For Darien's Board of Education
Dennis is running for his second term on the Board of Education because he is deeply committed to Darien’s public school system and collaborating with Dr. Addley (Darien’s Superintendent of Schools) and the Board of Education to set a vision for our school system that will steer the district through this period of uncertainty and into a brighter future. During his first term, Dennis proved himself to be pragmatic, solutions-oriented, and a natural leader, serving as the Chair of the Facilities Committee. He also serves on the Vision of the Graduate Committee.
As Chair of the Board of Ed’s Facilities Committee, Dennis believes it is critical to jumpstart the Ox Ridge School project, which will allow the Early Learning Program to move into this new space and free up much-needed space at Royle School. In terms of new capacity, he also recommends that Hindley and Holmes have additional classrooms built for the future. Dennis is specifically focused on the portable classrooms at Darien’s elementary schools, which he believes should not be a permanent solution. Looking ahead, he wants to examine the condition of all of Darien’s school facilities and develop a plan to refurbish or rebuild aging infrastructure responsibly and sensibly with an emphasis on Darien’s educational needs into the future.
As a member of the Board of Education, Dennis strongly supports collaboration among board members, putting our students first, better long-term capital and curriculum planning with community input, defending local control of our schools, and improving transparency and accountability to Darien’s taxpayers. With proposals for the regionalization of Darien’s schools, the ongoing capital project at Ox Ridge, and the potential build-out of facilities across the school district, Darien is fortunate to have Dennis in his leadership role on the Board of Education.
What Dennis Brings to the Job
Dennis brings solid experience and personal commitment to the job, as proven by his many years of extensive volunteer work in Darien. In addition to serving on Darien’s Board of Education, Dennis was a member of the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) for 19 years and also served on its Education Committee. In addition, he’s been a YMCA Adventure Guide and Princesses Chief and has coached little league softball and soccer for Darien’s kids.
Born in Elmsford, NY, Dennis grew up in Danbury, CT, and attended Danbury’s public schools from K-12.
After graduating from Danbury High School, Dennis attended the University of Connecticut where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. He is currently the Vice President and Senior Perfumer at International Flavors and Fragrances. He and his wife, Holly, have lived in Darien for 24 years and have two daughters: Rebecca (“Becca,” age 22), who graduated from Gettysburg College this past spring, and Cassandra (“Cassie,” age 19), now a budding sophomore at Bowdoin College. Both daughters were born and raised in Darien and graduated from Darien High School after attending Darien’s public schools from K-12, contributing to Dennis’ critical insights from a parent’s point of view in his efforts to continuously improve Darien’s schools.
Not only has Dennis completed two marathons (so far), during his summer breaks while in high school and college, he worked as a roofer!
Key Points to Remember....
Both Duke and Dennis are dedicated and experienced community leaders who are committed to making Darien's school system the very best it can be for the benefit of our kids, their parents, and all of Darien's residents. They have first-hand experience as parents of children who are attending our schools or who attended them from K through 12 and graduated from Darien High School. Together, Duke and Dennis bring a broad range of management skills, technical expertise, commitment, insight and vision for Darien's school system.
Both Duke and Dennis are extremely qualified and experienced candidates for Darien's Board of Education— we hope they'll have your vote on Election Day on November 3!
Duke is currently Vice Chairman of the Darien Board of Education and is running for a third term because he is committed to a bright future for the school district, which he strongly believes will require effective leadership, responsible stewardship and wise investment in curriculum, technology, and infrastructure. As Co-Chair of the Ox Ridge Elementary School Building Committee (the largest capital investment project in Darien schools at this time), he is already deeply invested in the future of Darien Public Schools.
What Duke Brings to the Job
During his second term, Duke proved himself to be analytical, detail-oriented and non-partisan. He believes open dialogue will be critical in an ever-changing educational landscape, and he is committed to clear and sober communication between all Boards, town leaders and parents to find the best way forward. To support this effort, he has proposed an innovative “Two Way Street” plan to improve the tone of interaction between the Board of Education and the other Boards governing town services. Under this plan, greater transparency about annual Darien Public School budget priorities, long-term capital improvement planning and curriculum development are critical.
Duke is focused on the new challenges that the district faces in the wake of COVID-19. Beyond simply analyzing budgets and financial impacts, he is also committed to assuring that the quality of education delivered to all students, including those with special needs, does not suffer. He understands that integrating cutting-edge technology and optimizing e-Learning are just as critical as managing class sizes and schedules, increasing bus capacity to facilitate safe transportation, and protecting our teachers, students and families.
With over 30 years of business and managerial experience in finance, sales & marketing, Duke brings a level of professionalism, oversight and insight critical to any successful board. He also brings a level of compassion and caring. Currently Senior Vice President–Market President of New York at Republic Bank (“Republic”), his role there has allowed him to work with various historically underserved communities in the New York Metro Area to address financial literacy, affordable housing, and job training.
Of course, Duke’s greatest source of pride has been working alongside the rest of the Board of Education to elevate our public schools to a position of state and national renown. With continued broad support from the community, as well as Darien Public School teachers, parents and students, he looks forward to making our school system even better in the years ahead.
Originally from Westfield, NJ, Duke graduated from Westfield High School and attended Saint Joseph’s College. He is now the Senior Vice President— Market President of New York at Republic Bank (“Republic”). His role at Republic has allowed him to work with various underserved communities to address financial literacy, affordable housing, and job training.
In addition, Duke is a founding member and board member of the Darien Fire Fighter Foundation, volunteers for the Tiny Miracles Foundation, and is a member of the Advisory Group for the Darien Depot. In the past, Duke has served as a member and Secretary of the Darien Volunteer Fire Department and as a trustee of the Norwalk Maritime Aquarium, plus volunteered his time with the NYC PAL (Police Athletic League), the NYC Manhattan Chamber, the Chelsea NY Chamber, the Advisory Board of Housing Unlimited, the Chamber Economic Board of Montgomery County MD, and the Community Board of the Mercy Health Clinic.
Duke and his wife, Ashley (a graduate of Darien High School and now VP of Tiny Miracles… soon to be president next January), have lived in Darien for almost 25 years and have three daughters, Hayley (age 19, a graduate of Darien High School and now a sophomore at Hobart-William Smith), Colby (age 16, a junior at Darien High School), and Reagan (age 16, a sophomore in Darien High School’s Special Needs Program).
Duke started selling Christmas trees at a local garden center when he was just 12 years old.
Experience: Member of the Board of Education since 2014, Vice Chair of the Board of Education, Co-Chair of the Board of Education's Ox Ridge School Building Committee.
Now More Than Ever, We Need the RIGHT Kind of Experience