Bergin & Winkfield Statement Upon Election to South Orange-Maplewood Board of Ed

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Susan Bergin and Courtney Winkfield – along with Elissa Malespina and Kamal Zubieta – havw won seats on the South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education. Bergin and Winkfield’s three-year terms will begin January 2021. Malespina has also earned three-year term; Zubieta will finish the final year of a three-year term.

This campaign has been unique.  Instead of meeting you at street fairs and in living rooms, we connected behind masks and tucked away in Zoom rooms. Nevertheless, over the past three months we have managed to be out in the community sharing our ideas and listening to your experiences with and thoughts about our school District, so we can better understand your hopes for our schools. And though we have maintained social distance, our connections with you have been meaningful.

We launched this campaign with a belief that through real collaboration, we can strengthen a sense of belonging in this District so all our students can thrive. There is no doubt that the circumstances we are facing now – a global pandemic along with a lack of federal guidance for and support of public education – make this work all the more challenging. This moment is testing us, as a community and a school district.

We know that through collaboration, we can build a critical and shared accountability so that each child, and each family, ultimately receives the kind of support they need – both now and when we eventually return to our school buildings. These processes will be difficult and challenge all of us, but we are prepared to do this work with humility and a spirit of curiosity and cooperation.

We are confident that rolling up our sleeves, dedicating ourselves to this work, and holding ourselves and the district accountable will yield a better outcome for students than would taking a perspective of blame and recrimination. We are grateful for the trust our neighbors have shown in us with their votes and are humbled to have the opportunity to serve our community on the Board of Education next year. We look forward to working with our fellow Board members to support the work of our District and our incredible students.

– Susan Bergin and Courtney Winkfield

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