Common Ground Board of Directors Meeting Minutes: Meeting Dec. 18, 2023

This Meeting will be held By Zoom 

December 18th: 5:30pm

Zoom Recording

Present: Monica Maccera Filppu, Brian Kelahan, Aubrey Bido, Clouds Mutale, Shelly Hicks, Peter Ludwig, Lizanne Cox, Bob Parker, Terri Snell, Monique Frasier, Goia Connell, Jeff Carter, Michelle Sepulveda, Jen Burke, Kyeen Andersson


Staff: Elena Augusewicz, Lauren Violette, Joel Tolman, Cherry Pacquette-Emmanuel, Rebecca Holcombe, Deborah Greig


Public: N/A


Welcome (5:34pm)

Alexis called the meeting to order at 5:34pm

Public Comment (5:30) (two minutes per person for a total time limit of 30 minutes, or by email; see instructions below) Sign up for Public Participation HERE

Business Requiring Approval (6:00)

Minutes of the November 27th Board Meeting 

Peter moved to approve the minutes, Liz seconded, the minutes were approved unanimously. 

Approval of Elena Augusewicz as authorized Signer for Financial purposes (will replace Betsy Sneath) effective Dec. 22nd.

Jenn moved to add Elena as an authorized signer on the TD Bank Account and remove Betsy Sneath. Jeff seconded the movement to approve adding Elena as a signer and removing Betsy Sneath. The motion was approved unanimously.

Invoices Needing Approval

Jeff moved to approve the invoices as listed, Bob seconded the motion to approve. The motion to approve the invoices passed unanimously 

  • CBS Therapy $7,765.00: Contract Nursing coverage from 11/6/23-11/30/23
  • Thurston $13,060


Executive Director Report (5:40pm) (Monica)

Monica shared the presentation linked above and encourages board members to read through details when they are able to. Monica expressed appreciation for Betsy Sneath and Mark Loalbo who are retiring at the end of this month.

Cherry gave a deep dive presentation on the MAP-NWEA assessments and the Climate Survey results for the High School. They have spent the past two all-staff meetings working through the results of the Climate Survey and focusing on the topics that staff voted on to be the most important..

Update from Student Members (6:07) (Aubrey and Clouds)

Aubrey presented the update linked above. She said that 10th and 12th graders, including herself, are now enrolled in college courses. The acting class had performed Macbeth for all of the students which was exciting. The student council elections occurred and the council included a statement to the board in the Student Report linked here. In her presentation she discussed general concerns of students and some proposed solutions. 

Monica suggested Aubrey and Clouds provide a similar update in the April board meeting.

Audit Committee (6:22) (Gioia and Jeff)

The Audit Committee met on December 5th to review the FY 23 Financial Audits and are sharing them with the full board below. 

CGHS  Draft Audit

NHEP Draft Audit

Finance and Development Committee Report (6:25) (Jeff)

The Finance and Development committee met on December 14th  to review Budget vs Actuals as of November 30th and Invoices for approval. We also discussed preparing for January projections. The Finance and Development Committee will next meet on Thursday, January 25th  at 4pm.  For more info contact Jeff Carter.

Governance Committee Report (6:29) (Shelly)

The Governance Committee met on Monday, December 18th. Shelly said that they discussed filling the co-chair roles that Kyeen has been covering. Alexis will be doing some individual outreach but Shelly encourages board members interested in the co-chair position to reach out to her by January 5th for consideration at the next Governance Meeting. Shelly also reminded Board members to check their email regarding the upcoming Board Member Orientation. Orientation is in January, for both new and old board members. 

Kyeen encouraged Aubrey and Clouds to reach out to her or Shelly if they have questions before the orientation.

Kyeen wanted to let everyone know that we are looking at our conflict of interest policies and making sure we do our board training and making sure the board is functioning smoothly. She reached out to the Community Foundation because they provide support to Non-Profit Boards especially around Governance. They have a program you can apply to as a board to get assistance, if they accept the application they provide 12-15 hours of paid consultant work to the Board of Directors.  

Please contact with any questions. 

Personnel Committee Report (6:40) (Monique)

The Personnel Committee met on December 12th.Monique said that there is an action plan in place for the unresolved Union grievance. Monique wanted to see monthly updates on hiring, offboarding in the Executive Director’s report. She said that they also wanted to reflect the percentage of certified teachers in the ED report. The teacher absenteeism rate should also go on the ED dashboard. 

The Personnel Committee will meet on the 2nd Tuesday of every month, the next is on Jan. 6th, with the option to meet after BOD meeting as needed. Please contact with any questions. 


Strategic Planning Committee Report (6:43pm) (Bob)

The strategic planning committee did not meet. 

School Committee Report (6:43pm) Liz  

The School Committee met on December 13th and will share a synopsis of their meeting with the full board.  Liz said that the school committee got an update on the… The school committee offered recommendations related to the overview of MAp to the board. The school improvement plan includes indicators such as MAP and college readiness for all grades and all subgroups of students. They are recommending a three year plan built into the curriculum for SAT preparedness. Liz also encouraged Monica to review the roles of Admin staff to assure Cherry has more time to focus on instruction. This is an ongoing project with a division of responsibilities document to be shared by the end of the month.  Asking to add teacher chronic absenteeism in the board agenda.  Liz encourages all board members to review the staff climate survey that’s embedded in the ED report. Liz and Brian will bring up focus group work and takeaways to the board in Executive Session. 

New topic that they will spend time on in the coming months: role of board in curriculum approval, impacts of increasing large SPED population on Staff/Recruiting/Retention

The next meeting date is January 24th.  For more information contact 

New Business (6:51pm)

Executive Session (6:51pm)

Peter moved to enter into Executive Session at 6:51, Bob seconded the motion to enter into Executive session. The movement to enter the Executive session was approved unanimously. 

The board returned from Executive session at 8:14

Adjourn (7:30)

Movement to adjourn- Brian Moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:16 and Jeff seconded. The motion to adjourn passed unanimously 

Next Meeting: January 29th (by zoom) 

Public Comment: 

In order to comply with Connecticut Open Meeting laws, any member of the public wishing to participate in the meeting must sign up on the Public Participation Sign-up Document. Sign-ups for Public Participation will open at 5 pm on the last business day before the meeting (Friday, December 15th ) and will close at 5:00 pm on the day of the meeting (Monday, December 18th ) Public Participation is limited to 2 minutes per person up to 30 total minutes. Anyone wishing to make a statement to the board can also submit testimony in writing to  by 5:00 pm on the day of the meeting. All submitted documents will be included in the publicly shared meeting minutes.


Leave A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.