Education board discusses hall of fame eligibility

The Board of Education took up the issue of who would be entered into the Wilton Public Schools Hall of Fame during its Sept. 22 meeting.

The hall of fame in the glass hallway between the Zellner Gallery and Clune Center is a place to honor teachers, students and staff members “who have in some way achieved notoriety in their chosen area of expertise” and “distinguished themselves in ways that have brought great honor and pride to our community,” according to the drafted policy.

Wilton High School band director Frank “Chip” Gawle became the first hall of fame inductee in June.

Like Gawle, hall of fame inductees will include those who have “attained national recognition, or in some way been recognized by their peers for outstanding achievement.”

Those inducted will be honored with a personalized plaque — the cost of which will be the responsibility of the person sponsoring a hall of fame nomination.

Candidates must be nominated by “any person who has direct knowledge of the candidate’s achievements,” meet a certain set of criteria and pass an evaluation process by the Hall of Fame Review Committee, according to Policy 1171.

The 12-member committee will be comprised of the superintendent, all four school principals, the education board chair, all four PTA presidents, and two at-large community members selected by the superintendent to serve for two-year terms.

Criteria and application

A candidate must meet the following requirements, although meeting the criteria does not guarantee induction into the hall of fame:

  • A current or former student must be a graduate of Wilton High School.

  • Faculty and staff members must have attained their prominence while employed by Wilton Public Schools.

  • A candidate should have distinguished him or herself in a way that attained positive national prominence, or by being honored by his or her peers in a manner reserved for individuals at the top of that particular profession or endeavor.

  • A candidate elected to statewide or federal office, or who was appointed to serve the government in a high profile capacity may be eligible for consideration.

  • An individual who has distinguished him or herself in a national volunteer or philanthropic capacity and has made a measurable impact on society or received national recognition for his or her efforts.

  • Any candidate who serves in the military and is recognized for bravery, valor or leadership may be considered. Induction may also be granted posthumously.

Conviction of a felony will disqualify a candidate from consideration, and any hall of fame inductee who subsequently commits “an act deemed to be unworthy” will have his or her membership revoked.

Service with Distinction Award

Policy 1171 also outlines a program for those who have never received “the national recognition or notoriety of Hall of Fame inductees” but are “nevertheless heroes and deserving of recognition” — the Service with Distinction Award.

The program is for employees and volunteers who have served the school district with “long years of hard work and dedication.”

To be considered for the Service with Distinction Award, an individual must accomplish at least two of the following:

  • Serve the school district for at least 15 years.

  • Make “significant contributions” in the district that will have a lasting impact.

  • Receive “significant recognition” among peers for his or her accomplishments.

  • Provide evidence that the his or her performance positively affected students.

Although an awardee does not need to be a Wilton resident, the person nominating him or her does. There must also be three additional sponsors.

The policy presented at the board’s meeting stated that the Service with Distinction Award would consist of an engraved plaque mounted in the workplace where awardee spent most of his or her career.

However, board member Laura Schwemm said she had a problem with where the plaques would be placed and suggested they be put where community members can see them.

Board member Lory Rothstein agreed and suggested that they, too, be mounted in the hall of fame.

“We’ve designated a large hallway for the hall of fame,” said Rothstein. “I don’t see why they couldn’t go there.”

The board agreed and decided that if the hall of fame got too full, another spot would be designated for the placement of the Service with Distinction Awards.

The board decided to redraft the Service with Distinction Award portion of the policy before voting on the policy at its next meeting on Thursday, Oct. 13.