When I sat in the hallway outside the Essex County Clerk’s Office in July, trying to think of a three-word slogan for my Board of Education run, the words “Transparency, Accountability, Dignity” quickly came to mind.
Over the course of the next few months, I sat in living rooms, coffee shops and schoolyards across South Orange and Maplewood — and even a fireside chat — listening to the concerns of students and parents about the state of our schools. There were many success stories and plenty of areas with room for improvement.
I was heartened by words of support from not only friends and neighbors, but also strangers I might have never met otherwise, and by the genuine concern expressed by families of children not yet in school. For these reasons, I am optimistic that we as a community will push for real solutions to many of the challenges that await the new school board.
I’ve expressed many times over the past few months how much I was encouraged by the fact that there were 11 candidates on the ballot, vying for the three board seats up for grabs, and I’m hopeful that the enthusiasm will continue to spur positive changes.
Congratulations to Annemarie Maini and Shannon Cuttle, and congratulations to Javier Farfan and Narda Chisholm-Greene. Thank you also to Mike Laskowski, Felisha George, Avery Julien, Marian Cutler, James Wilkes and Chris Trzaska, each of whom represented the community’s passion and helped broaden the conversations across SOMA. You should all be proud. I know I am.
It was an honor and a privilege to meet so many of you, hear your stories, and earn your votes. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.