To the Editor:

I am running for a Washington seat on the Region 12 Board of Education. I want voters to know who I am and what I stand for.

My husband, Bob, and I built our home here in 1980. My sons, Jeremiah and Jonathan, went all through Region 12 schools. I graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University School of Dentistry as a registered dental hygienist.

Some of you may know me from the library, where I read to the children or do a dental health education program for Children’s Dental Health month. Many of you know me because of my passion for POW/MIA issues.

I have another passion — education.

Years ago, I served on the board of education. I am proud that, at the time, Shepaug Valley School was named one of the best schools in America by Redbook Magazine, and the next year we were designated a Blue-Ribbon School by the Department of Education for being one of the 169 best schools in America.

I believe strong public schools to be a key element in the well-being of our country. I want the students in America to have the tools to make good decisions throughout their lives.

I want the students to be lifetime learners. I want the students to be able to problem solve creatively. I want the students to strive to learn to the best of their ability.

It takes a village to educate our children and Washington does a good job. I still refer to the children in Washington as “our kids.” In triumph and tragedy, we are the Shepaug family.

I will fight any attempt of the state forcing us into a giant region. It is a bad idea, especially for our children. Regionalization would put us into a position to lose control of our schools. We would have little or no say in the education of our students, how our tax dollars are spent and how much we would pay.

Three things are very important to me for our school system: the safety of our children, the education of our children and the happiness and comfort of our children.

As before, I will vote as if the well-being my child had a stake in my decision. It has always been my litmus test — if I would want it for my child, I will vote for it for your child, and vice versa.

As in any decision we make for our children, we cannot always give them what they want. Sometimes it is simply wrong for them, and sometimes, it is too expensive.

There are many times a BOE member has to make tough decisions. Harder, sometimes, than you would ever dream possible. I am both ready and willing to make those decisions.

It is important to have a good superintendent, BOE and staff, all working together to make Region 12, the best that it can be. Education is not a business and our students are not products. I want to invest my time in something that matter — the future of America.

If you will vote for me and entrust the education of our children to me, I promise to give it my all. I will always be open to your questions, suggestions and concerns. Why? It’s simple — because I care.

Mary T. Weber