Katharine Leenders has been appointed to fill Sarah Thrall’s remaining term. Come November, she will be running in the next election.
Leenders has been a lifelong resident of northwest Connecticut, and has lived in Granby since 2010. She grew up in Barkhamsted, graduated from Northwestern Regional 7 and attended the University of Connecticut. Leenders knew that she wanted to have a career helping children.
At UConn she pursued and graduated with a degree in human development and family relations in 2001. After college, Leenders lived in South Windsor and then Suffield before settling down in Granby to grow her family.
Leenders has two children, James, 14, and Anna, 9, who have attended Kearns, Kelly Lane, Wells Road and Granby Middle School. This coming year, Anna will be entering fourth grade at Wells Road and James has been accepted into the agriscience program at Suffield High School where he will enter grade 9. The family considers themselves fortunate to have had amazing experiences with the Granby School system, and Leenders wants to work to ensure as many Granby families as possible are as happy with the schools as they are. As a family the Leenders love to experience all that Granby, as a community, has to offer. She is happy that her children have had the chance to be active participants in sports, band, chorus and extracurricular activities that are offered.
Leenders has worked with children for her entire 20+ year career as a social worker for the State of Connecticut. Many of the children she has worked with over the years had complex educational needs. Through ongoing contact with schools across the state and via the PPT process (Planning and Placement Team) she was able to advocate for children to receive the best services for their needs.
In her current position, she continues to work with families and school districts across the state in a wide variety of situations. As a result, she feels that she has an understanding of the education system from not only a parent’s perspective but also from that of a teacher, student and administrator. Through these roles Leenders has seen the positive effects the public-school systems can have on young learners. She hopes to apply these different perspectives to her work with the board of education.