To the Editor:
I write to endorse enthusiastically Annemarie Maini and Javier Farfan for the South Orange Maplewood Board of Education. Annemarie and Javier are leaders who share a vision focused on the needs of children and who have the experience and ability to unite our school community and move our school district forward.
I have worked closely with Annemarie since she was first elected to the Board three years ago. She is currently the Board’s Second Vice President and serves as the Chair of the Board’s Equity and Excellence Committee. Annemarie has leveraged her expertise in both mathematics and early childhood education to improve curriculum and instruction, increase student engagement, boost school climate, and push for equity. Annemarie has been an unwavering and constant force for lasting change. She has worked closely with the administration on the STEM realignment to ensure that every student is receiving state of the art curriculum with student-centered, data-informed instruction that will allow them to succeed through Columbia High School and beyond.
Annemarie is an advocate for all students including those whose needs have been historically under-resourced – especially students with disabilities, students who are gifted and talented, and students who are economically disadvantaged. She is meticulous in her review of the school district budget to exact the maximum educational impact from every dollar that is spent. And in doing all this, Annemarie has developed productive working relationships with all members of the Board which will be critical as the Board moves forward on facilities and bonding, integration, and the selection of our next superintendent.
Javier brings to our SOMa community a longstanding commitment to service and children. Javier’s expertise as a marketing and communications executive and his experience bringing educational opportunity to underserved students will serve our students well. Javier’s constant focus on kids and the openness he brings to tough discussions, allow him to draw people into the conversation, harness community resources for critical work, and find common ground.
As the parent of a preschool child, Javier will also bring to the Board the perspective and a voice for young families whose students have so much as stake in the success of our District’s facilities plan, integration work, and pedagogical initiatives such as the expansion of pre-K. His vision and experience will be critical in the coming years.
Please join me in voting for Annemarie Maini and Javier Farfan Board of Education on November 6.
Elizabeth Baker has served on the Board of Education since 2015 and is the current President. However, the views expressed in this letter are her personal views and not those of the Board.