FIRST UP on GMW is an occasional column that highlights shorter announcements or updates, and helps you get a quick start to the Wilton news of the day. Have a news tip, item or something you know people are chattering about? Email us at

SRO Ross Retires

School Resource Officer Rich Ross was named Police Officer of the Year on March 27, 2019.

The Wilton Police Department announced on its Facebook account that School Resource Officer Rich Ross has retired. A member of the WPD since 1999, Ross dedicated 15 of his 22 years to the Wilton Public Schools as the School Resource Officer.

“During that time Officer Ross forged positive youth/police collaborations and interactions. A dedicated and humble professional, we wish School Resource Officer Ross the best as he starts his next chapter,” the post read.

Police spokesman Lt. Gregg Phillipson said that a replacement hasn’t been named, but that “the selection process is underway.” The other SRO is Officer Elise Ackerman.

Heather Priest Leaves Middlebrook for Pepsi

Heather Priest transformed the culinary arts program at Middlebrook Middle School.

In another big departure for the Wilton Public Schools, the district’s Human Resources director Maria Coleman announced at Thursday night’s (Aug. 26) Board of Education meeting that Heather Priest, the Family Consumer Science teacher who revolutionized the program at Middlebrook Middle School, has stepped down from the spot to “go corporate.”

“She was incredibly inspirational and transformed the program. And while we are so sad to see her go, we’re also very happy that she had the opportunity to pursue something else professionally,” Coleman told the BOE members. And while many members of the school community would attest to Priest being almost irreplaceable, Coleman said the position won’t go unfilled. “We’re also very excited about some prospects that we’ve been pursuing. So I hope to have an update for you very soon.”

Priest announced on social media that she is headed to Pepsi as a product development scientist.

“This is a path I have always dreamed of but never thought could happen. I am beyond grateful for my time at Middlebrook school and I have been so fortunate to be a part of the Wilton community as a resident and a teacher. This town is amazing and has been so supportive of me over the years. While I will miss being a teacher I am thrilled to start my new adventure,” she wrote.

(No Lions) But Bobcats and Bears, Oh My!

Two readers sent us recent pictures of some Wilton wildlife in their yards.

Charles Wessendorf was lucky to spot this mama bear and cubs enjoying a sweet treat of peaches one week ago on Chicken St.

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Meanwhile, Clay Larsen captured this image, below, on Friday, Aug. 13. He said the patient mother bobcat waited for her cub to finish playing in a tree before they sauntered off together.

WHS Football Kicked Off Season with Gridiron Club BBQ

Wilton High School Football kicked off its 2021 season with a Wilton Warrior Gridiron Club-sponsored BBQ for all incoming players, coaches and families. More than 130 people attended the event at the high school field concession area.

Varsity Head Coach EJ DiNunzio and WWGC Board President Ryan Masterson addressed the crowd.

“After all we’ve endured over the last year, we’re all so excited to be playing tackle football again. We’ve assembled an amazing group of coaches and a terrific group of players. We’re all looking forward to a great season,” DiNunzio said.

Ryan Masterson agreed that it’s great to have the WHS football community back together this year. “We can’t wait to see all of you at the season opener at McMahon on Sept. 10 at 7 p.m., and then for our first home game Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. against Fairfield Ludlow.”

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