Name: Theresa Oleyar
Political Party: Democrat
Running for: Board of Education
Education: Studied psychology at Southern Connecticut State University.
Work experience: Realtor for nine years, currently with Better Homes and Gardens/Gaetano Marra Homes
Political experience: Parks and Recreation Commission (2018 to present)
Community experience: Stepney PTO Board, Monroe Parents Council, parent rep on the district’s Curriculum Council, STEM/Jockey Hollow study ad hoc committee, founding member of the Monroe Playground Foundation, Farmers’ Market volunteer, First Selectman Golf Outing volunteer.
Family: Married with five children: Kaleigh, 23, Aly, 15, Andrew, 14, Grace, 9, and Lucy, 7.
What is an issue affecting the town that you care about most and want to make a priority? How will it guide your decision making?
I spent a long time thinking about this question, and my honest answer is I do not have any particular issue that I care about most. If there is an issue our community says is important, I care about it.
My priorities will come at the direction of our residents, and of our school district. Keeping this responsibility and commitment to my community, in the forefront of my mind, will be what guides my decision making. A few examples of what this has looked like over the years include:
Knowing many people found it difficult to attend budget meetings, but still wanted to stay informed, I attended all budget season meetings ( BOE, BOF, TC and budget workshops) for the purpose of keeping friends and residents informed, updated and having their questions answered.
I had the opportunity to work on the school reopening committee (July 2020) as a parent representative. I attended all workshops, brainstormed with other parents, read several surrounding towns’ plans to see how each district interpreted the guidelines and what their plans entailed, and listened to other towns BOE meetings, all the while learning as much as I could.
During the pandemic, our Farmers’ Market needed to rethink and reconfigure its entire operation, to be able to open and run safely. I did not hesitate to step up when I was asked to help. We spent the entire season learning new ways to get fresh produce and local goods into the hands of our residents, always looking for more efficient and organized ways to do so.
There was a need, and so the farmers’ market became something I cared about, even though I had never volunteered a year before then.
If elected, I will show up. I will listen. I will ask questions. I will have empathy. I will learn. I will advocate. I will care, no matter the issue.