Elissa Malespina, an educator and longtime South Orange resident, will run for a seat on the South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education this fall.
In a press release on Monday, Malespina said she had filed her paperwork this morning and “is running with her sights set on ensuring that SOMSD starts to rebuild in ways that allow it to live up to the promise of real integration and equity so that all students have the best opportunity to reach for the stars.”
Malespina previously was a librarian at South Orange Middle School and Columbia High School. Currently, she is librarian at Verona High School.
A sometime critic of SOMSD and frequent public speaker at Board of Education meetings, Malespina ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the BOE in 2015, on a platform with Marian Raab and Shannel Roberts. Along with her husband, Malespina was a plaintiff on behalf of their son in the racial equity lawsuit that was recently settled with the district.
See the full release below:
Today Elissa Malespina filed paperwork necessary to declare her candidacy for Board Member of the South Orange-Maplewood School District (SOMSD).
Elissa Malespina is running with her sights set on ensuring that SOMSD starts to rebuild in ways that allow it to live up to the promise of real integration and equity so that all students have the best opportunity to reach for the stars. Her campaign mantra is, “Putting Students First-The Choice for Change.”
As a veteran educator and staunch advocate for effective public education, Malespina brings a lot to the table. As a parent and former teacher in our district, Malespina had a front row seat to inherent inequities in our district, especially around the treatment of students of color and students with special needs. Her focus has been and continues to be shining light on these inequities so they get the attention they deserve.
The late Congressman and civil-rights icon John Lewis, who Malespina had occasion to meet a few years back, when talking about his work as an activist and as a legislator, often said, “When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have to speak up. You have to say something; you have to do something.” This is something Elissa Malespina has been doing locally for years and on a national level as an educational advocate and speaker, as well as in her own library.
“I’ve never been one to sit on the sideline when I see something that isn’t right or that can be made better or more accessible,” says Malespina. “I want our schools to be a place of real support and growth for all students, and right now that’s not always happening — we need to do everything we can to get to that point because our students are all missing out.”
Elissa Malespina has lived in South Orange for 26 years and taught in the South Orange-Maplewood School District for 9 of her 20 year career in education. She currently serves as the Librarian at Verona High School and speaks nationally about the importance of libraries in schools and integrating technology in education. She is certified in the state of New Jersey as an elementary teacher, a secondary education teacher, school librarian and school administrator and holds her Masters in Education from Seton Hall University. Her son is a rising senior at Columbia High School, and previously attended Marshall Elementary, South Mountain Elementary and South Orange Middle School. Her husband is a native of South Orange and is a proud graduate of the South Orange-Maplewood School District.
Elissa will be hosting her first in a series of Meet the Candidate Virtual Events this Wednesday, July 29th at 8:00 pm on Zoom. People can register here https://bit.ly/3g0WT6I
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the event.
For more information contact the campaign at firstname.lastname@example.org .