To the Editor:

We write in support of the Board of Education candidacy of incumbent Annemarie Maini and first-time candidate Javier Farfan. As two of only three educators in the race, they appear to us as the most qualified to provide governance and oversight of our school district.

We are educators ourselves, and we value educational experience on the Board. While we don’t expect members to use their own educational expertise to direct the work of the district, we do expect them to recognize competent educational leadership when they see it. We think Annemarie and Javier are well-suited to that task. They have both led successful educational change efforts.

Sign Up for E-News

We urge you to look at their bios and campaign statements on their campaign website. See "About Annemarie Maini" and "About Javier Farfan".

Annemarie runs South Orange Country Day, a wonderful local preschool, and has a Masters in Math Education from Syracuse. More importantly, in her first term, she has played a key role in many of the positive changes now underway under Interim Superintendent Ficarra.

Javier is an adjunct professor at Seton Hall and senior marketing executive, with a Masters from Columbia and an MBA from NYU. In his volunteer work, he has helped launch and lead two still-successful programs for serving disadvantaged students, one a middle school mentoring program while he was an undergrad at SUNY Binghamton that has served over 2,000 students in its 25 years of existence and the other a public high school in New York City for young women from disadvantaged families, funded half by the city and half by Wall Street corporations, launched in 2005.

A key obligation of the next Board of Education will be to interview and select our district's next Superintendent. It’s safe to say that most of the people interviewed will have one skill in common -- the ability to impress a Board of Education when interviewing!

We need Board members who can look beyond the buzzwords and judge the candidates' actual commitment to equity and excellence, their understanding of what elements are necessary to make our schools exciting, engaging and challenging places where all children thrive, and their experience in leading the critical change efforts necessary to move our schools from where they are to where they need to be. We need Annemarie Maini and Javier Farfan on the school board. See their Joint Statement on what they will work on if elected.

We urge you to join us in helping to elect them to our Board of Education on November 6.

Sincerely,

Bill and Peggy Tally

Maplewood