SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — Courtney Winkfield wants to put her professional experience to work for the South Orange Maplewood School District as she runs for one of the three three-year seats open in this election.
She is the Senior Strategy & Policy Advisor for the Office of Equity & Access in the NYC Department of Education. "I have been an educator for the past sixteen years and...have been a teacher, assistant principal, principal, leadership coach and now I am a district administrator writing policy and implementing large-scale strategy." The experience, she said, "helps me to deeply understand the issues we are trying to solve here in SOMA."
Winkfield loves the passion she sees in the district already. "And I am inspired by the community’s potential to create a more fair and just school system. Our elementary integration plan is an example of the kind of innovation integral to living out our district’s core values. We have dedicated, passionate teachers who consistently go above and beyond for our children, and we have a community who comes together consistently to lend their talents and expertise to make our school system stronger for all our students."
Equity would be a top focus for her first term. She said the integration plan is an important first step. "The plan, however, is not enough to achieve the larger promise we hope to fulfill to ensure that all of our students can thrive. Educators need ongoing, embedded professional learning in implicit bias, racial consciousness, and culturally responsive and sustaining education. We also need to build on the work of the Special Education parent advocates and work to make the referral and evaluation process more collaborative and transparent and effective."
She is running as a team with Susan Bergin. "As soon as I met her, I knew we shared the same fundamental values about education... Our respective experience creates a powerful balance, and although we come from different professional sectors, we share a common history of speaking truth to power and rolling up our sleeves to solve problems."
Voters should choose her on their ballots because, she said, "I have a long record of working collaboratively with students, families, and educators to solve complex educational challenges from increasing access to and performance in AP courses, designing comprehensive equity-centered staff development, to writing and revising policies that are student-centered and culturally affirming."
Winkfield has lived in South Orange, NJ for 18 months with her husband and their two children, ages 8 and 10.
Read about the other candidates as their profiles become live: