WILTON — Gwendolyn Doak and Tammy Sue Mayhew are running for the town’s three-year seat on the Regional School Unit 9 Board of Directors which Angela LeClair currently holds.

Doak said that her interest in public service was sparked when she served on Wilton’s Library Board of Trustees.

Wilton resident Gwendolyn Doak is running for the three-year Regional School Unit 9 Board of Directors seat. Doak currently serves on the town’s Planning Board and finance committee. She wants to prioritize transparency in the district and vocational programming. Photo Courtesy of Gwendolyn Doak

“A friend asked me to serve on the Wilton Free Public Library Board of Trustees a few years ago and prompted me to help in ways I hadn’t before. Many people never consider volunteering for local boards and committees because they aren’t asked,” Doak wrote in an email. “I care deeply about public education and we find ourselves at another critical point for RSU 9 with change on many fronts, so it’s time I ask folks in Wilton for their vote!”

Mayhew has been a resident of East Wilton for the past 23 years and said that she’s always taken an interest in what is happening in the district’s schools.

“My oldest son served as a student rep on the school board in 2017 and 2018, It was very informative and I really tuned into how the meetings worked, As well as often attending school board meetings in person before covid,” Mayhew wrote in an email. “I have been interested in running for several years and feel the best time to serve and represent Wilton is now.”

Mayhew worked for the RSU 9 district in the 90s and said that she currently works for a neighboring district. She is drawing on these experiences as well as working for a preschool in town and her various community positions to understand the perspectives of staff and parents in the district.

“The preschool was located in the basement of Academy Hill School in Wilton. I got to know the teacher and the staff, I heard how decisions from the board felt and effected them and their jobs,” she wrote. “I have also been a coach for the local Wilton Recreation Department, A girl scout leader, along with previous service on the Wilton Events Committee and am a mother of 4.”

Three of Mayhew’s children currently attend Mt. Blue High School and one has already graduated from the district.

Doak is drawing on her experiences serving on various town committees and Wilton’s Planning Board when running for the school board seat.

“The qualities that would serve me in the role of School Board Director are the same as those my fellow committee members recognize in my service on the town finance committee, planning board, and elsewhere. I listen and exercise due diligence. I respect the process, and people involved, and do all I can to protect the interests of the people of Wilton when carrying out my duties,” Doak wrote. “I lean on the expertise and experience of others in our community, consider their perspectives, and approach challenges with a mind to problem-solving and finding consensus.”

Doak also has a child in the district and has served in local community volunteer positions.

“Volunteering in our schools, and joining the Parent Teacher Forum, I developed an understanding of the challenges educators and support staff face on the ground,” Doak said. “As a parent in a family currently on a fixed income, I know first-hand what students, families, and many community members are coping with. Sharing in the struggle, hearing other parents voice concerns, helped me appreciate and respect their sacrifices and those of our entire RSU 9 community even more deeply.”

Mayhew said that she also understands the importance of a budget from her role as a single mother. If elected, Mayhew said that she would be interested in the district focusing on extracurricular programs and initiating a peer tutoring and mentoring program.

Wilton resident Tammy Sue Mayhew is running for the three-year Regional School Unit 9 Board of Directors seat. Mayhew currently works for a neighboring district and has worked for the Mt. Blue district in the past. She wants to prioritize community input and extracurricular activities. Photo Courtesy of Tammy Sue Mayhew

“As a new director if elected, I plan on learning the ropes, asking lots of questions and trying to come up with creative problem solving. I would be interested in all of the extracurricular activities running camps in the summer to help fund their programs and engage and inspire youth. I know that some are currently doing this, but would like to see it more widely spread,” she wrote. “I would also like to see more community input at board meetings. I am a strong supporter of the initiation of both a peer tutoring and mentoring program. This would be a student helping student program for academic and social-emotional areas.”

Doak said that her priority if elected would be gathering input from district community members and emphasizing vocational programming.

“I’m wary of pushing proposals at a time when we should be listening to our educators, parents, guardians, and community to chart our way forward with new leadership and recover from the impact of the pandemic. A lot of policy and legal requirements are dictated by the state and federal government, which limits what can be done at the local level.

“I would like us to maintain and improve the transparency and accessibility of meetings – proved possible, with technology, as a result of being physically distanced. I hope we continue expanding and strengthening vocational technical education options, and we should always seek to improve communication between the Board, educators, and community members,” Doak said.

Elections for Wilton’s RSU 9 directors seat and Select Board seat will be held on June 8 at the town office.

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