REd APPLES of Norwalk is a grassroots, non-partisan community coalition launched in February, 2010 by a group of Norwalk mothers, living across the Norwalk School District, who passionately believe in public school education reform, especially if children are to compete in the global economy.
As professionals in their own right, they are using their organizational, communication and business skills to seek out parents, taxpayers, educators and businesses in Norwalk, in order to speak with a larger, stronger and unified voice to City officials and members of the Board of Education, in an effort to improve our schools.
Lisa Brinton Thomson
Lisa spent over 25 years working in the U.S., Europe and Asia, giving her a big picture outlook and unique perspective on the future skills American children will need in order to compete in the global economy. After college, she joined AT&T and its spin-off Lucent Technologies, where she directed a variety of initiatives in sales and marketing. In 2002, she became an independent consultant, helping Fortune 500 companies improve employee performance in the areas of communications and organizational behavior.
In 2007, Lisa redirected her efforts towards a variety of education reform initiatives. Believing that the private sector should be more actively involved in education reform, she developed an enrichment writing program called Student Newshounds. It’s purpose has been to expose 4th-8th grade students to current events, non-fiction writing and graphic art. She also works as an advocate with the state-wide educational advocacy group CONNCAN and has served on various PTC boards including: Treasurer at Rowayton Elementary and PTC President at Roton Middle Schools. She is currently in her sixth year as a community member of the Norwalk Public School District’s Data Driven Management Team which has been focused on raising academic achievement in the district through individual school growth plans and both adult and student initiatives.
Lisa has had a residence in Norwalk for 14 years and has 2 sons in the school district.
Kerry E. O’Neill
Kerry is an executive with over 20 years of management experience in various sectors including financial services, direct marketing, e-commerce, and educational services, as well as, operations, strategy, product development and marketing. Early on, she worked as a software programmer and project manager in financial services and new media applications. Later, as an executive with Clayton Holdings, she ran their outsourcing business unit after the company went public. She was also the CEO of an online division spun off from Cendant Corporation. With a passion for addressing climate change and a talent for identifying strategic trends and developing business models, Kerry left the corporate world and applied her experience to the issue of residential energy efficiency. She is co-founder of Earth Markets, a social venture that develops residential energy efficiency programs that combine community-based marketing and social networking strategies with environmental markets and finance.
Kerry became involved in education over 15 years ago. With technology as the initial focal point, she worked at the NYU Center for Digital Multimedia helping faculty integrate technology into their curriculum. She has consulted with an educational software startup on a middle-school math program, provided professional development to each grade level team in two Norwalk elementary schools for technology-based curriculum strategies, developed a strategic technology plan for Cooperative Educational Services, and served as interim executive director of the Norwalk Teacher Technology Training Institute, transitioning it to a sustainable model within the Norwalk Education Foundation. As a parent, Kerry has been active in NPS reform initiatives for several years, including serving as a member of the Parent-Community Partnership Committee, responsible for strengthening parental and community engagement in the district. She is currently the PTO president for Silvermine Elementary and is a past member of a parent advisory council to expand the dual-language immersion program to the middle school level.
Kerry has been a resident of Norwalk since 1997 and has 3 children in the school district.
Lauren Rosato is an international entrepreneur with more than 20 years experience in international business and the non-profit sector. Originally a software programmer and project manager for the domestic banking operations of Chase and Citicorp, she transitioned to international business, as a finance officer for a Belgian translation agency and soon founded Lexpress International, Inc., a linguistic consultancy now in its 20th year of operation. A calling to the non-profit sector transitioned her to AmeriCares, where she managed 1,100 yearly medical mission donations to doctors traveling to 87 countries. She was also an Executive Director for A Leg To Stand On, an international pediatric orthopedic non-profit based in Manhattan.
In 2006, Lauren became President of the Norwalk Education Foundation, the non-profit arm of the Norwalk Board of Education. Her international experience from visiting or working in 22 countries has provided her with a cultural sensitivity to Norwalk’s public school students who speak 54 languages. Her business management and entrepreneurial experience has propelled the Norwalk Education Foundation from a grassroots organization to a non-profit one that works directly with 18.5% of the teaching staff, services all 19 Norwalk schools, and directly provides programs to 49% of the district’s 10,500 students.
Lauren has lived in Norwalk for 16 years and is the parent of 2 daughters in the school district.