Sharon Tanenbaum Kraus is proud to announce her candidacy for the South Orange Maplewood Board of Education. With a strong background in journalism and communications, along with a passion for civic action, Tanenbaum Kraus has always had a proactive spirit. Not content to sit on the sidelines or in the back of the room when a helping hand can be lent, she has grown accustomed to taking charge to help attain her community’s goals. Next on her list? Contributing to the growth and success of the Board of Education for South Orange and Maplewood through clear and constant communication, transparency, and accountability, particularly with special education.

Tanenbaum Kraus, who raises three young children with her husband Ethan Kraus, moved to South Orange in 2014 from Brooklyn. Like so many others, the diversity and inclusive nature of the community is what attracted them. Since changing her zip code, the native Atlantan has become an active member in the community, particularly at her children’s schools and daycares. At the Nursery at Our Lady of Sorrows, which all three of her children attended, she was involved in parent outreach and teacher-parent communication and activities. Since joining Oheb Shalom Congregation, she became involved in young family outreach and, most recently, served on the committee for the highly successful spring fundraiser. In 2018, her oldest child entered kindergarten at Marshall Elementary, a move that eventually inspired her to further her passion for community involvement by running for the school board.

“My son qualified for special education in the summer of 2018. After going through the evaluation process, placement, and school year, I have seen the best of what our district’s special education has to offer. But I have also seen its worst,” Tanenbaum Kraus says. The catalyst for her campaign kick-off came in June when the district switched the paraprofessional vendor. “My child’s classroom paras have become an integral part of our team, and to have the administration drop their current contract in favor of a cheaper bid was incredibly short-sighted. Moreover, the lack of communication between the administration and the parents was devastating,” she says. “At that moment, I knew I needed to be that voice of reason on our school board.”

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The opportunity to help thoughtfully address and communicate the challenges of South Orange-Maplewood’s special education is what inspired Tanenbaum Kraus, a journalist who has worked at Real Simple, Us Weekly, and Elle, to run. While a first-timer, she hopes to be a clear, unwavering voice at the table to advocate for the rights of special education students and students as a whole. She also aims to solve the problems of communication and transparency between the board and administration and the students and families. “I have worked as a journalist for 15 years and know how to ask the hard questions, get the answers, and translate them so they reach a broader audience,” she states. “With the schools reorganization and integration plan upon us, the time is now to--once and for all - be honest and open with each other.”

For more information on Sharon Tanenbaum Kraus, follow: @STKforBOE. For press inquiries, email STKforBOE@gmail.com.