ELECTION 2021: Meet the Candidate — Jess Christ, Board of Education

Bio

Attracted to Wilton’s outstanding school system, Jess Christ and her family moved to Wilton in 2010. She found her stride in the community and in the school system, running successful programs such as Miller-Driscoll’s Spring Carnival, “Cider Mill’s Got Talent” talent show, Cider Mill Bingo, and most recently, Middlebrook’s Class of 2025 Spirit Night. She also actively volunteers with Circle of Care and Helping Hands and currently serves on the Vestry at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church. She is passionate about advocating for our school-aged children, from those struggling with learning challenges to the gifted and talented and all those in between. Having three children in Wilton schools has given her insight into the struggles and successes of our educational system.

Op-Ed

My name is Jess Christ and I am a candidate for the Wilton Board of Education. Wilton schools are the driving force behind much of the attraction to Wilton until you move here and get to know the community. This community is teeming with smart, interesting, good people, many of whom are parents and want the best education for their children. It is my goal, as a member of the Board of Education, to ensure that our schools remain top-notch and continue to challenge our students.

I am from a small town in southeastern Massachusetts, I went to Catholic schools from kindergarten to 12th grade and then graduated with a psychology degree from Wheaton College (MA).  My husband and I recognized early on the importance of raising our young family in a town where education is highly regarded and expected. Having not attended public schools as a child, I knew I wanted a town that had an excellent public school system and a nurturing community; we found that in Wilton.

I have the most rewarding job in raising my three children. I quickly realized how important it was for me to stay involved in their education, both in the classroom and after school. I jumped feet-first into engaging myself at all levels of their educational experience. In 2015, I co-founded the Miller-Driscoll Spring Carnival and was chairperson of fundraising for the event. This event was the largest fundraiser for the school and extremely successful for four years. In 2018, I co-founded “Cider Mill’s Got Talent,” which was a variety show aimed at giving the children of Cider Mill the opportunity to showcase their skills on stage in a welcoming environment. This past year, I was also heavily involved in organizing a class spirit day at Trackside for the Class of 2025 after a year full of missed opportunities due to COVID restrictions. My volunteerism was not limited to the big events during after-school hours but also included time in the schools volunteering as much as possible to ensure that all students were given the best experience possible while helping our dedicated teachers.

One of the more valuable experiences I have had recently was in 2019 when I was asked to collaborate with a team of teachers, administrators, and parents on the Scheduling Committee for Middlebrook School. This experience allowed me to witness first-hand the intense work that goes into only one of the many decisions that happen within our schools.

While these volunteer positions have greatly expanded my understanding of the need for parents to be active partners in the educational experience, it also afforded me an opportunity to look beyond the day-to-day activities and to involve myself more deeply in the inner workings of the schools and curriculum.

Having three children, two of whom are on opposite ends of the learning spectrum, I have had to navigate many of the same obstacles that other parents experience. I have seen first-hand how unforgiving the system can be for students who are on the cusp of the federally mandated level for intervention and how frustrating it can be for parents and students. Similarly, I have seen the other side of the coin with a child who has always been a more gifted learner yet has not had the opportunity to excel to his fullest potential due to a lack of programming in the younger grades. I believe these personal experiences will be invaluable as a member of the BOE, as my goal is to ensure that all students are given every possible opportunity to achieve their highest potential.

Wilton students are all unique learners with different strengths and weaknesses. It is imperative that our school system continues to recognize these individual differences and ensure all our students are given equal opportunities in which to achieve their greatest potential. I very much believe that our students are among the brightest in the state and should have a pathway in which to excel beyond what is afforded to them in a typical class. I believe re-establishing the Gifted and Talented program is essential to helping our high achievers reach their educational goals while allowing other students to continue to learn at their own pace. I believe that our schools must also solidify the fundamentals that are taught in Miller-Driscoll and Cider Mill. Having a concrete foundation will allow for continuity of learning as our students progress through the system and continue to be challenged.

I appreciate the opportunity to share who I am and what my goals are as a member of the BOE and look forward to continuing to serve the students of our town and our community at large.

1 COMMENT

  1. Impressive credentials. Candidate is know to us and known to be totally and absolutely qualified, concerned, dedicated and excited to be part of the education system. This kind of person is the caliber of what is needed in our system. We have no hesitance but to consider her 100% qualified. A really strong candidate.

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