By Jarret Liotta
Republican Vik Muktavaram announced his retirement from the Board of Education (BOE) tonight after four-and-a-half years.
Muktavaram, who told colleagues he had increasing work commitments, was appointed to the BOE in February 2016 to fill a seat vacated by Paul Block. He ran for the seat and won in November last year.
“It’s a sad day, Vik,” said BOE member Karen Kleine. “I’m going to miss you.”
“I think you left your mark on this board and it’s going to be tough to fill your shoes,” she said.
“It’s been an honor and a privilege to have served with this board,” Muktavaram said, calling his fellow members “my comrades in arms.”
“While we may have disagreed from time to time on issues—and quite vehementl at times—I know we all respect each other and enjoy working together,” he said.
“I’m gonna miss that.”
Born and raised in India, Muktavaram came to the U.S. in 1994 in pursuit of a master’s degree in computer science, which he later followed with an MBA from Columbia University.
He moved to Westport with his family in 2009 and works as a management consultant and independent risk adviser.
“I’m very sad and disappointed personally to see you go,” said BOE member Elaine Whitney.
She praised his willingness to listen, his strength in analysis, and his creativity.
“You’re going to leave a huge hole on this board,” she said, calling him a huge resource. “It’s going to be very tough to fill.”
School administrators also praised Muktavaram.
“It’s been a delight and a pleasure to work with you,” said Elio Longo, chief financial officer, praising his financial acumen.
“What I was always impressed with … was your compassion for the employees and really thinking about how we create a district that supports the employees,” said John Bayers, director of human resources and general administration.
“I don’t think the employees always got to see that,” he said, noting Muktavaram’s support of employees during contract negotiations behind closed doors.
“You were always very thoughtful about supporting the whole operation,” he said.
Whitney said the BOE will now consider new registered Republican town residents for appointment to replace Muktavaram.
“We have a 45-day window in which to do that,” she said.
“Our plan is to make an appointment on or about August 10th of this year,” she said, with the deadline for applications Friday, July 10, at 5 p.m.
“It is a huge amount of work but I also want to underline how rewarding it can be…and how impactful the work we do can be,” Whitney said.