December 7, 2019

Steve Wilson (R): Candidate for Region 18 Board of Education Representing Old Lyme

Steve Wilson

I have served on boards for individual schools and on the board of a local organization so I know how to manage the issues facing an academic institution and also understand what strategies resonate in the Old Lyme.

I have been a resident of Old Lyme for 15 years and recently moved here full-time. I have two children who attend LOLHS. I have a very real interest in seeing that the BoE keeps the needs and interests of the children a priority. I would ensure that we continue with that level of excellence and seek to improve upon it wherever possible.

What are the three major issues in Lyme-Old Lyme Schools that you are currently aware of, which require resolution during your potential term of office?  Please list and explain each one briefly in order of importance.

  1. John Rhodes, the Tech/Facilities Director is leaving. His position is critical to the function of the school, highly paid, and is associated with a certain amount of influence in the school. His replacement must be carefully considered.
  2. The proposed artificial turf athletic field is another point of curiosity and while the project is progressing, I believe the entire process should be more transparent, that the public should have access to the process, and that their opinions regarding it be heard. I originally had health concerns about crumbled rubber astroturf which is one method being considered. I was pleased to find a thorough scientific study of the effects of both aspiration and ingestion of the material which found no conclusive evidence of any ill effects on either animal testing or human-cell testing. If my children are going to be using those fields, I would want to have a high degree of comfort that their health is not being put unnecessarily at risk and I would insist that before any final decision is made, that we are diligent in studying potential health risks.
  3. For all new projects and insofar as it’s possible, I would solicit input from the community early on in the process since I believe it is the purpose of the board to serve the students, the teachers, and the residents of Old Lyme. I am experienced, mature, and confident in my opinions but I am also open-minded and will always seriously review new information as it’s discovered

Regarding Question 1, explain more about your choice of the issue of most importance and how you think it should be resolved.

Finding a capable, effective, and forward-looking replacement to John Rhodes is a priority. We’ll need to ensure that the right people are on the hiring committee. I also believe it’s important to seek input from existing faculty members, teachers, and administrators to ensure our decision is made with as a comprehensive perspective as is reasonable. In my opinion, a critical facet for any employee- at any level- is that they work well with the people already in the organization.

What do you see as the main relevant skills and character attributes that you will bring to the position if elected?

 I have served on boards for individual schools and on the board of a local organization so I not only know how to manage the various issues facing an academic institution but also have a good feel and understanding of how local people and organizations operate and what strategies resonate in the community. I ask honest, simple questions and expect straight answers. If those answers aren’t reasonably forthcoming, my intellectual curiosity compels me to dig deeper. I have been a resident of Old Lyme for 15 years and very recently moved here full-time. I love the area and especially this town and look forward to contributing to the community to the benefit of all residents.

I believe my personal perspective will bring a healthy balance to the Board. I have two children who attend LOLHS by choice to continue their education at a top-rate school with an excellent curriculum complemented with outstanding extra-curricular programs. Having children who are actually in the school means that I have a very real interest in seeing that the BoE keeps the needs and interests of the children a priority. As a member of the Board, I would ensure that we continue with that level of excellence and seek to improve upon it wherever possible. I am socially liberal and fiscally conservative so while I appreciate the importance of projects that benefit the students, the school and the community, I also value investing in the school district but doing so within our means.

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