SUMMIT, NJ - Susan Hairston, who has previously served as the President of the Summit Board of Education and the Chair of the Summit Municipal Democratic Committee (SMDC), will run to fill the remaining year of the Ward I Common Council seat formerly held by Matthew Gould.

Gould passed away suddenly on August 13 from a heart condition. His wife, Stephanie Gould, was recently sworn in to serve in her late husband's place through the November 2019 election.

“I think Matt would be delighted to have Susan take over his role on Council,” Stephanie Gould said. “Susan and Matt worked closely together, and he admired her passion for educational excellence in Summit, as well as her commitment to inclusivity and creating win-win solutions.”

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Hairston has served in several capacities in Summit and Union County over the years. She was appointed to the Summit Board of Education, serving two terms culminating with the Presidency of the Board. Currently, she is a Commissioner of the Union County Board of Taxation, and she is a Foundation Trustee and Board of Governor of Union County College, where she is responsible for raising $1.5 million annually for scholarships. She was Chair of the SMDC from July 2015 through December 2018. She has also been the Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Forum on Diversity and a trustee at the PEP Foundation.

“It is an honor to run to fill Matt’s Council seat -- though I doubt anyone can fill his unique shoes,” said Hairston. “My family is fourth-generation Summit, I love this town, and am excited about adding my leadership and operations expertise in addition to my community- minded perspective to the decision-making that Common Council carries.”  

Professionally, Hairston is Director, Grants Management for a national private foundation in New York, where she oversees the policies, procedures, and systems associated with the foundation’s $4 billion endowment, having previously spent nearly two decades at the Ford Foundation. She and her husband Jerome raised four children, two of whom attended the Summit Public schools.

“We are grateful that Susan agreed to take on this challenge,” said Andrea J. Stein, SMDC Chair. “Her experience in planning and financial management is invaluable, and the relationships she’s forged here in Summit and throughout the county will serve the community well.  We need people with Susan’s leadership and passion at this critical time.”