One Greenwich Mom’s Board of Education Slate

Received from Shelly Cryer, Oct. 29, 2015

Dear Editor,

My professional work for nearly 25 years largely centered on coalition building in the nonprofit sector. I worked on challenging, complex, seemingly intractable issues such as the International Criminal Court, women’s reproductive health, and affordable housing.  I witnessed first-hand the unexpected progress advocates – who often had a history of competing for resources or on policy nuances — can make when they are able to identify common ground to advance a specific initiative.

As I enter my fifth year as a mother in the Greenwich Public Schools, I’ve felt my “lens” zoom in from the international to the local. But my core values have not changed, nor my belief in what approach leads to progress. I care deeply about a high-functioning, professional, and intelligent Board of Education. I am looking for members who show up and commit to the extraordinary work involved in the position. I want members who have experience and wisdom. I want these elected officials to treat our administrators with respect, even as they work to improve performance or adjust a work plan. And mostly, I want a Board of Education that works collaboratively – that understands that the ability to find common ground is what leads to progress for our schools, for our community, and especially for our children. For these reasons, my BOE slate is: Barbara O’Neill, Lauren Rabin, Gaetane Francis, and Jennifer Dayton.  I believe in these candidates and their ability to support our teachers and serve our students.

Shelly Cryer

DEADLINE to submit letters to the editor for the Nov. 3 election is Friday, Oct. 30, 2015


  • Richard may

    Ms. Cryer suggests voting for Board of Education candidates based on “their ability to support our teachers and serve our students.”

    While some might argue that this is justification to vote for Ms. Cryer’s proposed slate of candidates, I don’t. I am quite sure that every candidate on the nominating list “supports teachers” and wants to “serve our students” and the Greenwich community.

    Nevertheless, the goal of the Members of Board of Education should be to provide guidance and set clear academic goals and other measurable performance standards to Greenwich School Administrators. The skill sets and work standards Ms. Cryer applauds are – in my opinion – the responsibility of School Administrators – not the Board of Education.

    In the case of Ms. O’Neill and Jennifer Dayton, I would argue that both seem reluctant to demonstrate true leadership skills for fear of offending highly-paid school administrators. Is this what we are looking for in Board of Education candidates responsible for the education of our children and a school budget which exceeds $150 million.

    Getting along, working hard and all of these wonderful virtues cited by Ms. Cryer and others are not enough if Board of Education leaders don’t have the courage and leadership skills to demand excellence from Greenwich School Administrators.

    Who suffers? Well, our students and our community.

    I plan to vote for Peter von Braun, Gaetane Francis and Anthony Lopez.

    Let’s vote in a School Board with authentic leadership skills.