Get to know the school committee candidates


Credit: Courtesy of Erin Gibbons and Craig Gruber

WSPN interviewed school committee candidates Craig Gruber and Erin Gibbons.

Mischa Lee and Kally Proctor

WSPN interviewed school committee candidates Craig Gruber and Erin Gibbons to discuss their motivations behind running for school committee, their priorities for our town’s education, and the changes they hope to implement should they be elected.

Why do you want to run for school committee?
Gruber: I believe strongly in the power of education and the necessity of an excellent education for everyone. I have spent my life in education. I was a high school teacher for 15 years, then a high school administrator. I then moved on to teach college after I completed my doctorate. I have been a college professor and administrator while also serving as an officer in the Navy Reserves. I am running for school committee, because I want to bring my passion and love of education to the policy side of decision making in Wayland. I want to bring my experience and expertise in budgeting to help secure Wayland’s future as a home for excellence in education for the years to come.

Gibbons: I am running for the open spot on the School Committee because I want to give a balanced, positive and student-centric voice to the School Committee. Our students, their parents, teachers, and administration need to feel supported by each decision that the School Committee makes. The School Committee is tasked with setting district policy, overseeing the Superintendent and controlling the budget. It’s important that the community feels that they are being heard during the School Committee’s carrying out these responsibilities. All members of the school district community should feel that they can openly share their opinions and provide honest feedback without fear of retribution.

Why do you think you would be a good candidate?
Gruber: I believe I am a good candidate because I have spent a lifetime in education. As a teacher, administrator, student, former School Committee member, and parent of kids in elementary, middle, and high school in Wayland, I have experienced and am living the school experience at every level. My background is unique, and I want to bring what skills and experiences I have to the School Committee.

Gibbons: As a parent, an attorney, a longtime Wayland resident that is in touch with the community on a number of levels, and an effective and respectful communicator, I believe I am uniquely positioned as the best candidate to make a positive contribution to the School Committee. I am not willing to blur the lines of responsibility as a member of the SC. As an example, I did not seek the endorsement of the Wayland Teachers Association (WTA). The WTA, as a union, is a negotiating body that, as a member of the School Committee, I would be directly bargaining with to negotiate their contract(s). I believe asking for the Wayland Teachers Association endorsement compromises a School Committee’s member position if elected. The mere perception that an elected official, endorsed by the union body that official then must bargain with, is indebted to that same union is a conflict of interest. I believe that we need an unbiased voice that is willing to stand up for what is right and support what is best for our students and families.

What’s the most important thing about being on the school committee for you?
Gruber: The most important thing for me is ensuring that every stakeholder in town and Wayland Public Schools has a voice in the policies and decisions that will impact us all.

Gibbons: I believe the most important aspect of being on the SC is supporting initiatives that are best for our students and their families in a fiscally responsible manner.

If you were elected, what changes/ideas would you want to implement?
Gruber: Firstly, I would like to expand public comment at School Committee Meetings to the end of the meeting as well. Secondly, I would like to have a student member of the SC. There are sample guidelines to make this happen, and districts where they have done it. I think that since students are the consumers of education, hearing their voice on the committee as well would be important. I also want to have listening and discussion sessions with all members of the Wayland community at the schools, with teachers, parents, students, and staff, as well as with the Council on Aging and other groups in town.

Gibbons: As a newly elected member, I would have a period of acclimation. There are things that, as a person that is not currently on the committee, you just can’t know without being in the role. I think it’s important to first get a good handle on what is working and where there can be positive change made. Once I am up to speed, I will be able to make decisions on the best ways that the SC can support Dr. Easy, set/revise Policy and work to create a budget that is most fiscally responsible while meeting as many of our student’s needs as possible.

What do you hope to accomplish/what impact do you hope to make on the school committee?
Gruber: What I really want to do is enfranchise the town to be engaged in decision making in the school system.

Gibbons: I know that 100% of the people are not going to be happy with School Committee decisions 100% of the time, but my number one priority is to make as many students and families feel supported, heard, and free to openly share their opinions and feedback to help create positive change within our school district. The best way to make sure our students achieve their potential is to ensure that they are valued and that their teachers, administration, Superintendent and ultimately the School Committee are working together to meet that goal.