At its Thursday, June 17 meeting, the Wilton Board of Education (BOE) appointed former member Laura Schwemm to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Gretchen Jeanes, who stepped down due to a move out of state.
BOE Chair Deborah Low recommended Schwemm be appointed to complete Jeanes’ term, which ends Nov. 30, 2021. The four BOE members present Thursday evening voted unanimously to accept the recommendation.
Schwemm was elected to two terms on the Board of Education and served from 2011-19. She was appointed BOE secretary from 2013-17 and its vice-chair from 2017-19.
“We are fortunate that Laura has the interest and can commit the time and effort to this vacancy. Her knowledge and experience will ensure a smooth transition and will contribute to our work for the next few months,” Low wrote in a memo to the BOE.
Jeanes was first elected in November of 2017, and her departure leaves five-and-a-half months remaining on her term. In May, Low told the BOE her plan to fill the spot with “someone with recent Board of Education experience who is both willing to assist for this short period and who will not be running for BOE election in 2021.”
Jeanes, a Democrat, would have been up for reelection this November. In addition, at least two other seats will be in play during Election 2021: Glenn Hemmerle (R) will term out after eight years on the BOE, and Low (D) will be up for reelection after completing her first four-year term.
In past situations where a vacancy needs to be filled on a Wilton town board, replacements have often been chosen from the same political party as the individual who stepped down from the seat. Until Jeanes’ resignation, the current BOE was evenly split with three members elected on a Democratic ticket–including Jeanes–and three other members elected on a Republican ticket.
Schwemm was elected to the board on the Democratic ticket each time she ran.
However, the Board of Education is one of the least politicized boards in Wilton, with all six members almost always voting unanimously on most issues and rarely, if ever, bringing in political issues to board matters.