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Schools Chief Makes Voice Heard

Phil Schaefer is a high-profile member of the Weston community as head of the Board of Education since last November.  During the 9 years he’s been involved with the schools, he has also worked as a CPA and  commercial real estate broker in New York. What many in town might not know, however, is that during that time he’s also been doing voiceovers for TV commercials and, more recently, appearing on-screen in television and film.

“Every day is a little different, which is kind of fun -- you never quite know where you’re going,” said Schaefer, who was recently in TV spot for Medicare with Andy Griffith. He is also auditioning for a lead role in the pilot for a television sitcom, for a role in a TV commercial for a financial services company and for a role in public service announcement as a newscaster in the year 2041.

In addition to a long list of voiceovers, he’s also been a jury member on “Law and Order," filmed a party scene for the new Fox sitcom “Running Wilde” and recorded  commercials for Papa John’s Pizza and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Even his King Charles Cavalier, Zoe, has gotten in on the act. The pooch also appears in ads and commercials, has landed a spot on “Saturday Night Live” and will vie for an appearance on “Gossip Girl,” he said, joking that Zoe had an agent before he did.

“It’s a nice diversion from everything else that I do, and it sort of takes the edge off the board of education issues when things get a little topsy-turvy,” said Schaefer.

Schaefer said it helped get him through the uproar this summer over the school board’s approval of a 9.5% raise for Superintendent Jerry Belair. The hike for Belair hit a raw nerve coming at a time of economic distress.

“It’s been a pretty rough year,” he said. “There was a point in time over the quiet summer in Weston that I thought people really crossed the line in being disrespectful and rude and uncivil, and that was difficult because I said we don’t get paid a nickel for this.”

“Overall, I’m remaining cautiously optimistic that going forward things will settle down and for the most part people will understand -- not always necessarily agree with what we did and other decisions that we made -- but at least will be respectful of our decisions.”

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