We are writing to strongly endorse Jennifer Payne-Parrish, Karen (Tia) Swanson and Amy Higer for Board of Education. We feel this is a critical election for the future of education in our district. These three candidates have outstanding qualifications and share the vision of education we believe is right for our community. They believe that excellence and equity go hand-in-hand, and that we cannot have excellent schools without offering this excellence to all of our students. Jennifer, Tia and Amy are committed to a relentless focus on the richness and rigor of curriculum and improving the instructional practices in every classroom. They believe every student in our district must be engaged and challenged. This vision is the one that guided the Superintendent’s recent reforms for our middle schools and our high school. And it also was the guiding principle for changes that have been implemented in our elementary schools: full-day kindergarten; a richer and more rigorous Language Arts curriculum; an inclusion model for children with special needs; and targeted interventions for children whose skills need to improve.
Professionally, these candidates will bring a breadth of experience and expertise to the Board. Jennifer is a scientist and holds a Ph.D. in Pathology; Tia is a writer and journalist, who holds an M.A. in English Literature; and Amy is a college professor and holds a Ph.D. in Politics. They are intelligent, thoroughly informed on the issues, as well as reasonable, thoughtful, and collaborative individuals.
Finally, as parents ourselves, we also believe it is very important that our board members have children attending school in the district. With Payne-Parrish, Swanson and Higer, every type of school in our district will be attended by one or more of their combined eight children - elementary, middle and high school. Not only do these individuals have first-hand knowledge of what is happening in the schools; they have a vested interest in ensuring the district meets its goals and all our kids receive an outstanding education.
While we know they will not always agree on all things, we also know that these candidates will ask tough questions and hold the district accountable to the goals of high achievement for all students. They are committed to making our district the best it can be, and they believe we are headed in the right direction.
Please join us in supporting these three outstanding candidates. Thank you.
Jessie Wendt, South Orange; two children - Jefferson and South Orange Middle School
Maggie Tuohy, Maplewood; four children - preschool, Seth Boyden and Maplewood Middle School
Remember to VOTE this coming Tuesday from 2-9 p.m.