I first met Maureen Williams at ER9 Board of Education meetings and Easton Town Meetings, when she was the moderator. Maureen was an elected member of the Region 9 board, the governing body for Joel Barlow High School, which has equal representation from Easton and Redding and determines the school’s budget to be sent to both towns for approval.
In my opinion, she has always been fair and someone who listens to and represents all Easton citizens. We are really going to miss her serving on the ER9 board. Hopefully, she will be back as a board member in some capacity, but we know for sure that she will always be involved, because of her love for the Easton Community.
I was able to hold an interview with her after the November election. Here’s what she said:
How long have you lived in Easton?
I moved to Easton in 1994, when my eldest child was three and my middle child was about eight months old. I have lived in the same house, on Sunset Road, ever since.
What do you like most about it?
I find the sense of space important to me, which is really quite a juxtaposition considering I grew up in Bergen Beach in Brooklyn and lived in New York City and Washington, D.C. I think Easton has a good community spirit; citizens are very engaged with the schools and with the broader community as a whole.
How long had you served as an ER9 board member?
I began my term in 2017 and ended it in 2021.
What’s your background and expertise that you brought to your position?
I am a lawyer in my day job, and have some significant experience assisting with kids in crisis, through work in both the juvenile and the family court systems. I also believe training in negotiation and mediation gave me an ability to balance perspectives, and to work toward consensus.
What is your vision for education in this community?
Short term, I would like to see us regain pre-pandemic levels of functioning, both system wide and student centered. Our administrators and teachers have been through a cataclysm (as we ALL have), and are regrouping around a new and wonderful superintendent, Jason McKinnon. Our kids’ varied response to the pandemic, academically, socially and emotionally, must be addressed. Long term, I would like to see improvements in how we educate a whole citizen, preparing students for engagement with a world beyond this little corner in Easton, Conn.
Given the current climate, I would like to see us teach basic logic at the high school level. I would also like to see students gain an understanding of how to analyze news reports, to assess when conclusions are being drawn unsupported by facts, and to assess bias in reported information. Those skill sets are critical.
What are your areas of concern regarding student achievement in the Easton/Redding district?
Our achievement “metrics” are quite strong, even though standardized scores have largely fallen during the pandemic period.
I view the best and most essential metrics as ones not easily documented: anecdotally, near all student graduates report that their academic learning at Barlow was outstanding and that college, by comparison, was not terribly difficult.
What did you like most about serving as an ER9 Board member and what will you miss most about it?
I thought the ER9 board functioned well, and was able to get to consensus. There was respect, even in the face of disagreement. Group dynamics are difficult to assess, and as trite as it may sound, I think it was extremely positive, because the members genuinely liked one another.
Would you consider running again for a BOE position or another town position?
Never say never!
That said, ER9 Board terms are four years, so if the question is, “Would I seek the same ER9 seat I vacated in four years?” I think the answer is likely “no.” I want to find a space for my energies before then.
In addition, I think the Easton BOE has skilled and able persons of diverse perspectives currently, and I doubt I could “add” to that mix in a measurable manner.
Thank you for your service, Maureen!