MAPLEWOOD/SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — Deborah Engel is one of five candidates running for three full term seats on the South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education.

Engel says she decided to run because we are living in unprecedented times that are going to require innovative solutions.

As an entrepreneur — she owned Work and Play in South Orange and is a part owner of Maplewood's General Store Cooperative — she believes her unique way of thinking will allow her to create new models and different solutions for the district’s current and future problems. She has lived in Maplewood for 11 years and has 3 children in Tuscan Elementary School.

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“This is a really great time to take a look at our education system,” said Engel. “And think about how we can reconfigure it to teach for the whole child, not teach to pass a test.”

With 15 years of experience in the marketing field, Engels believes she is best equipped to help the district address its communication issues. She was surprised that the district didn’t hold any public forums about the reopening plan like they did with the facility plans. Engel says besides her own frustration from the district she has been hearing similar issues from others.

“Parents didn’t hear anything until the whole plan was finalized,” Engel said. “The district could at least give tidbits of information so parents know they are working.”

Now that the period of administration turnover is done, Engel hopes to help the district and the board bring back a measure of stability that parents have been missing.


Read about the other candidates as their profiles become live:

Susan Bergin

Deborah Engel

Melanie Finnern

Elissa Malespina

Courtney Winkfield

Kamal Zubieta