Stephanie Barefield is an adjunct faculty member in the University of Connecticut’s English department who has lived in Storrs for two years. She is running for a position as an alternate member of the Mansfield Zoning Board of Appeals for the Democratic party.
Barefield said she taught in different school districts as a student teacher and at community colleges throughout Connecticut and New York. She said her experiences as a teacher and Mansfield citizen inspired her to run for office.
“I think teaching really motivated me to be involved with people and help people, and community colleges also motivated me to be involved in the community,” Barefield said. “I think Mansfield is unique in that way, that I moved here and suddenly I’m able to be involved. There’s something special about this town that kind of gets people in and gets people to stay.”
Barefield said the fact that she is about to have a child also motivated her to seek the position.
“I think being on the ZBA (Zoning Board of Appeals) is really great for thinking about the future of the community and thinking about how ordinances are regulated in the town to keep the community vibrant,” Barefield said. “It’s a beautiful area…so I want it to be that way when my kid grows up here.”
Barefield said one of her goals if she is elected is to balance long-term benefits for the community with individuals’ unique circumstances as the board considers the cases brought before them.
“My other goal is to understand (town ordinances and regulations) as thoroughly as possible, use my graduate student hat to learn everything thoroughly and base all of my decisions…on really solid ground,” Barefield said.
Barefield said she will apply her teaching skills to the position if elected. She said she feels these skills would help her carry out the role’s responsibilities.
“With teaching, I hold in one hand my motivation to help my students, and in my other hand is my knowledge and my ability to learn,” Barefield said. “And so with this (position), I hold in one hand my desire to help and work with other people, and then in my other hand my ability to learn information and have solid arguments and make sound decisions. And I think that makes for a good public servant. “
Barefield said she would like to get involved with different public roles in the town, such as an education position, in the future. She said she hopes to “influence the education system in a positive way for (her) children.”
Barefield said she will attend social work school through an online Columbia University program starting next September.
- Adjunct faculty member in UConn’s English Department, has taught in various school districts and community colleges
- Wants to balance long-term benefits for the community with individuals’ unique circumstances as board considers cases
- Aims to understand town ordinances and regulations as thoroughly as possible so she can make solid decisions for the board
- Would apply teaching skills to position if elected, such as desire to help people and ability to make good decisions
Alexandra Retter is the associate news editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.