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Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - 2:00pm

In a highly contested race, Mercy College Assistant Professor Virginia Coleman-Prisco, Ed.D came out on top to win a seat on the Norfolk, Connecticut Board of Education (BOE). Elected and sworn in November 2019, Coleman-Prisco is honored to have the opportunity to serve her local school starting as of December 2019.

The BOE in Norfolk is made up of six individuals across varying ideologies and backgrounds. They are charged with maintaining the organizational and fiscal well-being of Botelle Elementary School. Coleman-Prisco brings a valuable perspective to the board as the only Doctor of Education, a 20-year higher education administrator and professor, and a parent of two students attending her school of jurisdiction.

She hopes to use her experience to advise the board and district leadership on issues such as elementary school consolidation, enrollment, curriculum, and health and wellness. Often in touch with the school nurse due to one of her child’s medical needs, she looks forward to driving school health policies to expand and diversify services.

Recruited to run for the BOE seat four years ago, Coleman-Prisco politely declined the opportunity due to her busy schedule. Last year she decided to, “put her energy where her mouth was,” and take the leap to ultimately win one of the three Norfolk BOE seats up for reelection in the November 2019 municipal elections. It is the first time she has run for office and she is grateful for her success. She remembers lovingly her children’s elated reactions on election night, and how proud they were of mom for winning a big race.

In terms of her role at Mercy College, Coleman-Prisco is an assistant professor in the seminars program of the Humanities Department in Mercy’s School of Liberal Arts. She instructs traditional and online sections of two General Education courses: Junior Seminar and Critical Inquiry. She is involved in three major initiatives that focus on improving student learning: e-portfolios, digital storytelling and open educational resources. More specifically, she has been involved in technological initiatives in undergraduate general education core programs, specifically for at-risk students from diverse backgrounds.

Coleman-Prisco plans to bridge her experience at Mercy with her work on the Board. Drawing on her curriculum development, research and policy background, she believes her ability to understand educational system and policy nuisances will serve her well in her new position.

Also, being on the board will allow her to represent Mercy College and the higher education field on a greater scale. “It’s good for people to see that college professors aren’t in an ‘ivory tower’ — that they’re on the ground, aware of very important issues and working diligently to find solutions,” Coleman-Prisco said. In the same vein, she sees the opportunity to integrate some future lessons learned working in public service into her Mercy coursework and keep encouraging her students to engage in societal issues impacting their local communities.

Mercy College congratulates Coleman-Prisco on her election win and is proud to have a dedicated public servant that will no doubt benefit countless students and families on staff.