By Stephen Seitz
KILLINGTON — Connor Solimano, of Rutland, has been named as a student member of the Vermont State Board of Education.
“I’m excited to be a part of the board, and I hope to bring my perspective as a student,” Connor Solimano said. “We’re all pretty excited. My parents are proud.”
Connor’s father, Mike Solimano, is the CEO of Killington Mountain Resort.
Come fall, Connor Solimano will be a junior at Rutland High. He has been active in student government, where he was elected class secretary for his sophomore and junior years. He is also a student member of the Rutland City Public Schools board.
“I went into this with low expectations,” Connor Solimano said of his bid for the seat on the Vermont State Board of Education. “I had no idea of the size of the pool of applicants. It’s been a while since we’ve had a member from the southern part of the state. The student members are usually from the cities in the north.”
There are two student seats on the state board. Student representatives serve for two years. While they don’t get a vote the first year, they do get a vote the second. In the official announcement, Gov. Peter Shumlin said he was impressed with the students who applied.
“The pool of applicants was amazing this year, and I want thank all of the students who took the time to apply,” Shumlin said in his announcement. “Connor is a rising star who has impressively served his community and has volunteered countless hours to make a difference at Rutland High School. I am confident he will bring fresh perspective to the Board, and am honored to have appointed him as the student representative to the State Board of Education.”
Solimano replied, “I am looking forward to learning more about our educational programs in Vermont, and I am interested in understanding how our local issues relate to statewide challenges. I hope to bring a new perspective to the board through my experiences as a student and community member. I know there are a lot of changes happening in Vermont relating to our educational system, and I am excited to have the opportunity to make a positive impact on the future of education in our state,” according to a news release.
Solimano said he is joining the state board without an agenda.
“I wouldn’t say I have anything specific in mind,” he said. “I’m sure it will be just like my local board. We’ll keep the board members up on what students are doing currently, and we get to speak. The students have sometimes persuaded the board. Everyone has something positive to contribute.”
While he has taken on these early leadership roles, Solimano said he does not see public service necessarily as a career choice for himself.
“I enjoy math and science,” he said. “I’m pretty proficient. I think I’d like to do something in the engineering field.”
More information about the state board of education can be found at education.vermont.gov/state-board.