I am Gretchen Jeanes and I am running for the Board of Education because I am a parent of two children–Grace, who began at Miller-Driscoll Pre-K and now is in 4th grade at Cider Mill; and Ellie, who’s in 6th grade at Middlebrook. My children will be in the Wilton School District until 2024 and 2026.

Like all parents I want the best education for my children. We moved to Wilton for the schools and I want to help continue and improve on the good reputation the schools have. In the State and District Reference Group A, Wilton is good, but it is not the best. I think we can move Wilton to the top of both DRG and State rankings.

I feel it is helpful that some members of the Board of Ed should have children currently in the school system. I know a lot of parents and teachers, and I will be able to see first hand through my children and other parents, which programs are working in the schools, and be able to address issues that arise. I will be able to gain a broader understanding from them as to what needs they have, and help improve communication between parents, teachers and the Board of Education.

This is my 6th year as a member of the PTA in Wilton–four of those serving on PTA Executive Boards. I chaired the Miller-Driscoll Auction for three years and the Cider Mill Walkathon for two years. I have also volunteered for the Junior League since 1994. I was awarded Outstanding Volunteer of the New York Junior League in 2013.

I have been on the Miller Driscoll Building Committee (MDBC) since January 2016, and chair the Furniture, Fixtures and Equipment Subcommittee. I stood up to the original MDBC committee members to advocate spending money on what the educators thought was necessary, not what had been decided on by previous committee members. As a result, we were able to save $200,000 with changes in furniture my committee implemented. Just like I stood up for student- and teacher-focused spending and the elimination of waste on MDBC furniture, I will do the same for the Board of Education.

My background is in project management and construction management, which includes managing multi-million dollar budgets. I am familiar with cutting budgets and prioritizing what needs to be kept and what can be reduced. This experience will help when working with the education budget.

In addition, as a real estate agent at William Raveis, I know the exceptional reputation of our schools is what drives our home values up. The better the schools the more desirable Wilton is to young families.

Please vote for me, Gretchen Jeanes, on Tuesday, Nov. 7.