This week’s Meet a Mom is Talli Connell, a Fairfield mom of three who works as a teacher for Adam J. Lewis Academy, an independent school in Bridgeport. She and her family moved here in 2009 after outgrowing their NYC apartment, and they fell in love with Greenfield Hill. Talli loves to go hiking or mountain biking with her family on the weekends. As an educator, she’s happy with the way her children’s teachers have handled these challenging times, and she looks forward to having her youngest join the other two siblings at St. Luke’s School in the fall.
How many kids do you have, and what are their names and ages?
I have three kids: Pearse (14), Thomas (12), and Cece (9)
When did you move to Fairfield and what led you to settle there?
We moved to Fairfield in 2009 from NYC. We had our first two children in NYC and as they grew and our apartment did not, we realized we needed more room and started looking in CT. I lived in Westport until I was 13 so Westport, Weston and Fairfield were where we focused our attention. We fell in love with the feel of Greenfield Hill and after a long search, found the right house and we have been here ever since!
What are your favorite family activities in the area?
My husband and son love to fish so they are down at the beach area and Southport harbor when the fish are biting! We all enjoy being on the water whether we are invited to hop on a friend’s boat or partake in sailing activities. Long Island Sound is such a huge benefit of living here! Additionally, the Aspetuck trails are a family favorite for mountain biking adventures and family hikes/walks with our dog.
When did your child/children begin attending St. Luke’s School?
My son, Thomas, first started at St. Luke’s as a fifth grader. We had just begun to consider an independent school option for him, and St. Luke’s was our first stop. After my husband and I met with Ginny Bachman, St. Luke’s Director of Admission & Financial Aid, and toured the school, we knew St. Luke’s was a very special place. Ginny suggested a shadow day and Thomas left the shadow day remarking that “he never knew learning could be so fun.” That was it; we were sold. Our daughter, Pearse, did not start at St. Luke’s until her eighth grade year and, although we were concerned that an eighth grade transition may be difficult, the whole experience was seamless and she, like her brother, has embraced St. Luke’s with open arms. Our youngest daughter, Cece, will start at St. Luke’s next year as a fifth grader. We are beyond thrilled all three children will be able to share in this incredible opportunity.
What about St. Luke’s makes it a fit for your family?
The motto of St. Luke’s immediately spoke to both my husband and me, “Enter to learn. Go forth to serve”…what else needs to be said? We feel that an academic foundation is essential, but St. Luke’s goes beyond just the academics. They want to create students with a strong and true moral compass. I am a strong believer that any child can be taught academic disciplines, but it needs to go beyond that. Teaching a child the merits of being kind is what makes them successful in life.
How has St. Luke’s responded to the Coronavirus (has meaningful learning continued)?
I was beyond thrilled with St. Luke’s approach both last spring and this year. The pivot from in-person learning to distance learning that happened last March was an adjustment for all, but I feel that St. Luke’s handled it very proactively and our children’s education did not miss a beat. Furthermore, St. Luke’s was beyond prepared for the start of the 2020-21 school year with three different learning scenarios and they have stuck to what they set out to do: keeping our children in school as much as possible. I respect the strong guidelines they set forth and the social contract that every St. Luke’s family was asked to commit to…it worked! Here we are with a few months to go and, in a time of a pandemic, St. Luke’s has had a very successful school year!
Name one thing people would be surprised to know about you.
I am a pretty open book! No surprises here…
When you need “me time,” what are your favorite ways to escape?
We live in a beautiful town so my favorite “me time” activities are either going for a run or taking our dog for a walk on the beach (when dogs are allowed!).
What’s the best advice you’ve received from another mom?
A very wise mom once told me when discussing kids and sports that, “We give our kids the access, the support and they have the abilities. The rest is up to them.”
Any words of wisdom for living life well?
Balance, balance, balance, and, at least in my world, I have to take one day at a time. Life with kids is busy and it can get very overwhelming at times. I find if I just focus on the day in front of me, it simplifies everything.
We like to support local businesses. What are your favorite places in the area to:
Have dinner: Bonda and Mama Chow
Grab a drink with friends: Artisan or the Horseshoe
Have a date night: Bonda
Spend time together as a family outdoors: Hiking, biking, skiing at Ski Sundown, and tubing down the Housatonic
Grab coffee: I like making my own coffee!
Workout: Fit Club