By Linda Conner Lambeck
WESTPORT — The Board of Education welcomed its newest member last week, Abby Gordon-Tolan, the mother of two and a former special education teacher.
“I am humbled to be at the table. Excited to get to work,” said Gordon-Tolan after the 6-0 vote confirming her appointment Thursday. “There are a lot of important things coming up and I expect to be part of it.”
Gordon-Tolan, 54, was nominated by the Democratic Town Committee to fill the seat of Christina Torres, who resigned effective Jan. 1 to focus on her new job as superintendent of the Mount Pleasant Cottage School District in Westchester County, N.Y.
Gordon-Tolan will fill the remaining two years of Torres’ term, which expires at the end of 2025.
“There is no backing out now,” board Chair Lee Goldstein told Gordon-Tolan. The board had previously interviewed Gordon-Tolan in an executive session.
Goldstein said she is thrilled Gordon-Tolan wants to join the board.
The new member is the mother of twin boys who are juniors at Staples High School. She is a former PTA president at Kings Highway Elementary School and, until her appointment to the board, was co-chair of the district’s Special Education PTA.
She also served as a diversity, equity and inclusion representative at Coleytown Middle School and is a founding member of Club SpED, a group formed to help connect families who have a child with disabilities.
Before moving to Westport, Gordon-Tolan was a special education teacher in New York City.
She said she has been in the audience of previous board meetings and is familiar with issues facing the panel.
“I’m nervous, but I am looking forward to it,” Gordon-Tolan said.
Freelance writer Linda Conner Lambeck, a reporter for more than four decades at the Connecticut Post and other Hearst publications, is a member of the Education Writers Association.