Dear Neighbors,

Three years ago, I endorsed Annemarie Maini for the Board of Education because—having worked with her for several years on Presidents’ Council—I knew that she was, even among a group of other smart, deeply committed, and engaged parent volunteers, unique: the one who always went the extra mile.

Annemarie proactively reached out to others to collaborate, diligently attended Board meetings when it was not her “turn” to do so, and scrupulously studied the District’s policies, resolutions, and budget. Overlaid on the rest of this evidence of her exceptional commitment, Annemarie was unfailingly reliable. When Annemarie says she’s going to do something, you can trust that she will do it. That may seem basic, but we all know that reliability is all too uncommon. Finally, Annemarie consistently looked out for the students at ALL of the schools, not just the schools her sons attended. When it was not the popular or politically expedient thing to do, she advocated for Seth Boyden and other oft-neglected pockets of our community.

Sign Up for E-News

I’ve been fortunate to serve with Annemarie on the Board of Ed for the past two years and I have found her to hold true to all of these admirable qualities and so many others. It is easy to underestimate the amount of time and effort that it takes to be an effective Board of Ed member and being reliable and looking out for ALL children should not be taken for granted. Annemarie is unbelievably hard-working and always prepared. She makes the extra effort to engage all Board members, the administration, and the community. She listens and genuinely cares. Although she is an educator, she does not impose her singular perspective on others. This is a critical characteristic of an effective Board member and community leader.

I do not know Javier Farfan nearly as well as I know Annemarie. Given that, I did not immediately jump to endorse Javier simply because he is Annemarie’s running mate. While I trust her judgment, I made sure to do my own homework, because I do not recommend people lightly. Having heard him in settings that have allowed him to speak more freely than the candidate forums, any concerns I had were allayed.

I am impressed that, in the short time that Javier has been in SOMA, he has chosen to invest his time in ways that serve the community. He is running for the Board as part of his desire to serve others beyond his own family. When you hear his history, you see that public service is in his fiber. I am grateful that he is eager to apply his past experience in both the business world and educational arena to serve our children—all of our children, not just his own.

I just recently attended a Board training regarding leadership and it is clear that Javier embodies many of the attributes of an effective leader and Board member. He is a quick learner and an astute listener, he has the critical ability to distill and synthesize information, and is a committed collaborator with clear opinions along with an open mind.

Both Annemarie and Javier understand the work that has been done and the immense work that is yet to be done. They are not looking to serve in order to address any particular set of issues, but to govern and work with the administration to address the myriad and substantial challenges we need to overcome in order for our children to have access to an excellent education.

We need a board who is serious about the work, can collaborate and bring unity to our community, and most importantly, will keep its focus on the children of our towns.

I wholeheartedly support Annemarie Maini and Javier Farfan to continue the hard work we’ve

undertaken. Please join me in voting for them on November 6th.

Susie Adamson

South Orange

Susie Adamson serves on the Board of Education. However, the views expressed in this letter are her personal views and not those of the Board.