To the Editor:
Three years ago I enthusiastically wrote a letter of support for first-time candidate Ms. Annemarie Maini for the South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education. And now, as she has chosen to run for reelection during a critical period for our school district, I proudly do so again.
I got to know Annemarie through her role as director of South Orange Country Day School, the special place known affectionately as the “blue school” to the many families who consider it a supportive second home.
My husband and I chose to send our children to SOCDS after observing several young alumni of the school embody the qualities we wish our own children to possess: confidence, empathy, curiosity about the world and resilience in the face of challenges.
They are qualities I also think are critically important for all students in the South Orange-Maplewood School District to possess as they navigate their complicated academic journey, and eventually become citizens of the world. And I know exactly the right person to help guide them through it all: Annemarie Maini.
On her campaign website with running mate Javier Farfan, they note that “our goal is to help all students discover that they can, through persistence, curiosity and self-reflection, become lifelong learners. We want an environment where students are active and engaged members of the school community, where excellence is not just an aspiration but a reality for all students, and where every teacher is enabled, encouraged, and supported to become that special teacher who inspires students, who reminds us of that special teacher from our own school days.”
I observed Annemarie running her school in a way that does exactly as she promises. She and her staff effectively tune in to their diverse student body, helping them resolve conflicts and build the confidence they need to learn. (No easy feat in a population of two to five-year-olds.)
The staff at the school frequently credit Annemarie with creating a warm and supportive atmosphere that makes them want to stay. I have spoken to many parents who recounted times Annemarie has helped them in numerous ways large and small — without fanfare and without looking for anything in return. So many people have told me they are part of the SOCDS community because they like the way Annemarie “runs things,” which is rooted in common sense and sensitivity to the complicated challenges we all face.
I see the opportunity to keep Annemarie on the school board as a gift; we are all lucky that she is willing to donate her time to bring her warm, savvy approach to all students in the South Orange-Maplewood School District.
A vote for Annemarie is a vote for every child in this community, a uniquely qualified candidate we are so fortunate to have running in this year’s election. I encourage you to visit the Maini/Farfan website https://boe2018.com to learn more about both candidates.
Please join me in supporting Annemarie Maini for Board of Education on Tuesday, November 6.
Kathy Ehrich Dowd