WILTON — On Tuesday, June 13, voters will be hitting the polls to cast their votes for the election of two select board seats and one seat on the board of directors for Regional School Unit 9.

The two seats for the Wilton select board belong to long time board members David Leavitt and Keith Swett, who are both running unopposed.

For the RSU 9 board of directors, two Wilton residents will be going head-to-head for the seat belonging to Irv Faunce, who decided not to run for re-election. Those two residents are Amanda Caruso and Louise Hiltz.

Amanda Caruso, second from left with her four kids at Bass Park in Wilton on Thursday, June 1. Also seen from left are Maggie, Caroline, Danny and Emma Caruso. Brian Ponce/Franklin Journal

Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Caruso and her husband moved to Wilton during the pandemic for a change of pace from the hustle of city life.

“We were looking for a small town,” Caruso said in an interview, “We were looking for a rural community. Just a slower pace of life, and a community where things don’t feel so anonymous, and we can really get involved and contribute.”

Since landing in Wilton, Caruso has involved herself in the community through Western Maine Play Museum as the newest member of the board of directors and is also the secretary for the Tyngtown Club, a two-hundred-year-old philanthropic women’s club in Wilton. Caruso also volunteers once a month for the RSU 9 food pantry at W.G. Mallett School in Farmington.


Her opposition, Louise Hiltz, is a native of Mexico, Maine, and has lived in Wilton for the past 25 years. She works for the post office and has three children, all fully grown, and five grandchildren.

Louise Hiltz, who is running for Regional School Unit 9 board of directors. Submitted Photo

“We knew we had a good school system up here,” Hiltz said when talking about moving to Wilton many years ago, “and we wanted to get the kids back in the school system, because in Virginia, where we lived, it wasn’t as good as here.”

Hiltz is also active with her church and has been running a support group for NAMI at Franklin Memorial Hospital for over 15 years. When her children were a part of the RSU 9 district, she involved herself in as many ways as she could, from substitute teaching, helping the front office and even the cafeteria.

The RSU 9 board of directors, like many school districts across the nation, has dealt with several contentious issues over the past year, with topics relating to gender politics, gun control and COVID-19 restrictions circling the board through agenda items and public comment.

With these contentious issues, board members must conduct themselves accordingly and make decisions that are for the benefit of the students first. The Franklin Journal took the time to sit down with both women and speak with them about their ambitions as a school board member. When asked what would be at the heart of their decision making when it came to topics like this, both women had this to say:

Caruso: “Listening and caring will be at the center of my decision-making. I hope to bring a heart for students and our schools to this role.”


Hiltz: “It always, ‘How does it affects the children?’ A Wilton Select Board member was talking about the decision to have half day kindergarten turned into full day kindergarten. And they said, ‘well, it was cheaper for us to have one bus run than two runs.’ And I’m thinking, ‘Well, what about the kids?’”

Regarding gender politics, which was a hot button issue for RSU 9 last year with the presence of a poster that defined common gender and sexuality terms being heavily discussed and voted upon with the board of directors, both women had this to say:

Caruso: “I believe that all students have a right to be safe in school. Likewise, I believe that all students deserve to be seen and valued for who they are.”

Hiltz: “The schools, I feel, are being treated like a partisan battleground, and it is causing problems. It’s not good for the kids, or for the parents, because then they don’t participate so much in the education process if they feel pushed out.”

Both women were asked how they would involve themselves in the RSU 9 community if elected to the school board and what they would want to see change.

Caruso: “Schools are truly the heart of a community. Parent involvement in schools is incredibly important and can make a real difference. Teachers and staff can feel the support when parents invest their time, and kids see it too. I plan to continue my efforts to support our RSU 9 schools as a PTF member, as a volunteer, and hopefully – as a member of the board of directors.”

Hiltz: “I would like to bring people together. I am a person who gets along well with people as a rule, no matter what walk of life I’ve always been in. And so, I wouldn’t be coming in with an agenda of ‘Well, I think you guys should do it my way’. Everybody’s different, and we just listen. I would do a good job of listening to the other board members and the community.”

Election day for Wilton will be on Tuesday, June 13, at the Wilton Town Office at 158 Weld Road. Voting hours will be from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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