Carla Stilson
College Township Council

A mom, part-time teacher, and six-year Council incumbent who prizes informed, progressive discourse toward decisions that will make College Township an even better place to live.


A crash course
in my current station in life

Besides Council, in my part-time life, I’m a volunteer, preschool teacher, substitute teacher, doula, and foster-mom. My full-time life includes being mom of two hilarious children and the partner of one particularly patient husband. In other words, I love to help people live well. In regards to my six years serving as Councilwoman for College Township, I’ve spent much of my time reading, researching, and communicating to inform residents and inform my decisions on community matters. My family and I have lived in the township for more than twelve years (eighteen years total in the Centre Region). We've settled in Houserville for what we intend to be a very long time.

Why I’m a qualified candidate
for Township Council

My qualifications are the experiences of my life that have shaped my outlook and given me a quality I believe every councilperson should embody: perspective.

  • I have served on Council for six years.
  • I have a B.S. in Education from Penn State.  → I have worked with students and parents in an urban, racially tense environment where I saw how the systems sometimes fail the people they intend to help. I learned how far a few extra hours could go to help a difficult situation become a little bit easier. 
  • I’ve worked for local non-profits  → wrap-around program wherein I helped the parents, schools, and communities work productively with children with behavioral disorders (i.e. autism spectrum, chronic depression, speech delays). I learned to see the world from the perspective of those children and their families. I helped others to do the same with the ultimate goal of giving these kids the proper coping mechanisms and assistance to let them grow and interact with their environments safely. 
  • I’ve worked for a local start-up  → manufacturing company wearing many hats and putting in long hours, but not nearly as many hats or as long hours as the two men who owned the company. I learned about business and risk and thin margins, and how policy can hurt and help the cause. 
  • I’ve been a mom in our community  → who relishes our wonderfully kept and plentiful parks, the natural areas, the terrific library, the safe neighborhoods, and the beautiful local businesses we are blessed to have so close to our homes. I have also cursed developers for overlooking a chance to connect the residential areas with the commercial zones via bike paths, steps, or sidewalks; I’ve spited policy for demanding so much commercial lighting at night when I want to see the stars; I’ve cried as my neighbors have moved their not-so-mobile homes far, far away because the laws to protect them didn’t come soon enough. 
  • I’ve worked as a property manager  → where I have been glad to make a capital trade of housing for money and have met a many pleasant transients in the process. I have also experienced the guilt of learning that tenants whose applications I personally reviewed have received numerous noise violations in a once quiet neighborhood—and knew there was nothing I as a property manager could do about it. 
  • I’ve worked as a childbirth educator → and labor assistant where I have been allowed the privilege of getting to know many different people in different walks of life all with one common experience. I have helped them manage their fears, taught them coping strategies, and most importantly taught them how to respectfully and knowledgably go for the birth of their choice. I have taught them to do this while keeping in mind the perspective of the excellent hardworking professionals whom they have chosen to help them. 

I feel these very diverse and powerful experiences have afforded me ample practice in seeing and balancing many different perspectives. This is what I continue to bring to College Township Council. I don’t believe that my candidacy is about creating a platform issue, or explaining my agenda. I will make a great councilwoman not because my perspective is perfect, because I have the drive to hear, the ability to listen, and the experience to know that the best answers come from the group, the whole, our community.

My policy-related inclinations

Even though I see my unprejudiced, listening ear as the chief asset I bring to Council, you as the voters should know where my personal sympathies tend to lie:

I love College Township’s laid-back, rural-suburban personality. I am uncomfortable with the idea of transitioning East College Avenue into a North-Atherton-like thoroughfare (although North Atherton Street does do sidewalks really well).

I love smartly placed sidewalks, bike paths, and alternative modes of transportation.

I have solar panels on my roof. I am keen on renewable energy.

I am interested in creative solutions to our “missing middle” housing dilemma.

I am sympathetic toward our local business owners.

I value well-planned preservation of ag land.

I like to focus on smart development, as opposed quick development.

I want to aid the community effort to protect and improve our unusually high-quality water resources.

I believe in instilling the importance of civic engagement from a young age and have volunteered several times in our elementary school to bring kids and local government together.

I encourage township residents to engage in the civic conversation by visiting the township website and signing up for the township’s Stay Informed alerts.

Webpage created in 2013. Updated by candidate in 2019.