To the Editor,
All of the teachers and administrators who were present at the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) Meeting on February 13th, 2012 left in protest.
For the past 18 months I have served on the Miller-Driscoll PTA as either Treasurer or President. As such, I have kept my Examiner.com writing responsibilities and related editorial comments regarding PTA matters separate from my official duties as a Board Member of Miller-Driscoll PTA.
Yesterday I was officially removed from that role and I am now free to express my voice."
The idea for the story began in October 2010, when I was a first hand witness to disturbing actions, which can only be described as divisive, by Miller-Driscoll PTA Co-President Tiffany Cram Tecce.
To be fair, I had heard a rumor that this action of procedural removal could be coming, but I assumed that the State PTA representatives, who were present at the meeting, would ensure due process and fair representation along with mediation, but instead they permitted the other side to take action, without consideration or discussion of the facts from anyone else's perspective.
I could have simply resigned, but I believed that due process, including allowing the individuals from
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our various PTA’s, PTA Council and State PTA to express their view, would lead to sound actions and compromise. However this did not occur, so several parents and teachers voiced their opinion that they were underrepresented at the conclusion of the meeting.
The vocal minority of our PTA, including Tony Tecce, took steps with the help of the State PTA and Wilton PTA Council, to prevent other voices from being heard, including that of Vice Principal Dr. Sheelah Brown. Dr. Brown requested that they cease their actions and allow her to express her opinion. When Mr. Tecce and others overruled her using procedures suggested by Sally Boske of the State PTA, Ms. Brown, Vice Principal Leslie Pearson and the teacher representatives left the meeting in protest.
This vocal minority and their actions, which are now on record in our PTA minutes, along with the records of their various emails, PTA minutes and Facebook Postings, will be published in due course.
In addition various sources within the School District, who requested anonymity, have shared their true views and displeasure with many of their actions. We will discuss these too over the course of the next few weeks.
Additionally I will release a series of articles exposing very troubling actions by the various individuals who hold themselves out to Wilton as leaders of our PTAs and civic organizations, such as the .
While I am very much concerned with their actions, I am more concerned that the good citizens of Wilton are unaware that these individuals think they are beyond reproach and can do whatever they please, and who seem to believe they are more important than they really are. If anything, the meeting yesterday clearly showed that many parents aren’t aware of their divisive tactics and actions, the vote by Ms. Tecce’s cronies and old guard establishment, notwithstanding.
In fact one new member came to her first PTA meeting as a new volunteer yesterday and later apologized to me. She was visibly shaken and very upset with what occurred.
The vocal minority, approximately 20 parents, seemingly forgot that they are less than 10 percent of the membership base and they completely ignored the “T” in PTA. Hiding behind State PTA “procedures” may have afforded them process and a means to an end, but it does nothing to improve our community.
If you are wondering why the teachers and administrators walked out, it is simply that they don’t agree with the actions taken and they don’t believe the leadership who took those actions acted without prejudice or with just cause. I will leave it to the parents and my readers to cast their own judgment or vote.
As for our teachers and administrators, they are wonderful and deserve our support and they will always have mine.”
So the questions we will ask beginning Wednesday:
- How did the vocal minority do something that only a minority of parents wanted, and which the teachers and administration didn’t? How can the Wilton PTA Council and State PTA ignore the wishes of the school’s administration and teachers?
- How could High School PTA President Tiffany Cram Tecce post ugly comments on Facebook about members of our Miller-Driscoll PTA Board and remain in office? At the time of her post she had school age children following her on Facebook and she laced her post with profanity. When issued a letter detailing the posting our District Superintendent and High School Principal did not issue a public statement condemning such actions; why? How can our PTA fund anti-bullying programs, and yet nothing came of it from our most visible parent at the High School? How can she ignore all of the good parents and teachers for the sake of a personal vendetta causing prominent Wilton citizens to characterize her as one of the most polarizing figures in town?
- How does Wilton PTA Council President Heather Wilcauskas spend more time concerned about Miller-Driscoll's PTA membership policy (which is more favorable than the other PTA's in town) and our assigned parking spaces, instead of our much needed sprinkler system and asbestos remediation? How can she unilaterally decide to protect Ms. Tecce in light of the above actions on Facebook, much less her other divisive tactics which led to last year’s Board members refusing to ever work in the PTA again? Does the Wilton Council PTA Charter and Bylaws allow her to concern herself with trivial matters? If so, why?
- How does League of Women Voters and their Membership Director Amy Harris get involved in our parking spaces debate, when she has no children in our school? How can she hold herself out as an expert on budgets and local politics, yet ask questions at District Budget meetings regarding how to get the vote out on a budget her direct questions to our Superintendent would seem to indicate she doesn’t understand? Perhaps the better question is why can’t she get the voters out at all?
- How could Tony Tecce cut off our esteemed Vice Principal Dr. Sheelah Brown from voicing her concerns about the actions of their group; more importantly why would he not allow her voice to be heard?
- Why does our town not stand up to these women once and for all? Are they truly the majority when it comes to representing our town or are they only a vocal minority? Are they the reason our town votes against school budget increases?
- How do the State PTA representatives, including Ms. Boske and President Jim Accomando, seemingly only represent the vocal minority, without following fairness, facts and the wishes of the teachers and administration? Would the MD PTA be better off reorganizing as a PTO?
- Did Heather Pettit, Gifts and Grants Executive Board Member and now Acting President, really have the best interests of the PTA, our teachers and administration at heart, or did she think that siding with Ms. Wilcauskas and Ms. Tecce would help getting a high school teaching job with the district, if and when she decided to return to teaching? How could she possibly believe that causing further division is good for our PTA, much less our school system? Is this the kind of teaching our district needs?
- What is the impact of these actions on other members of the community? Will they ever get involved again?
The facts, the emails, the comments made in meetings and the Facebook postings will be presented. [David Cray’s account on] Examiner.com will ask the questions and leave it to you to make your own opinion.
Tomorrow: How they did it: State PTA Procedures vs. due process
Next: How did this begin?
And later: Facebook postings by our HS PTA President and members of our PTA– why are our leaders publicly ignoring them?
Ed’s note: This is a slightly modified version of the original article published by David Crays on his Examiner.com account. He has submitted this letter to Wilton Patch and we will be following this story.