Election Maplewood Opinion Schools / Kids South Orange Towns

Letter: Adamson is Force for Progress, Voice of Reason for Schools

To the Editors:

As a longtime observer, colleague and friend of Susie Adamson’s, I am writing to urge her election to the SOMSD School Board. I simply do not think there is a more qualified person in the race.

Over the years I have worked closely with Susie, first on Seth Boyden’s PTA, where I was her Vice President, and later on the Presidents’ Council, which represents PTAs across the district. Without fail, she has been a force for progress and a voice of reason and compassion.

Anyone who partners with Susie is immediately struck by her competence and her work ethic, not to mention her organizational skills. Among other things she single-handedly recreated Seth Boyden’s website, reorganizing much of its content, as well as its design, so that it was more appealing, dynamic, and accessible. And both the quantity and quality of her emails were legendary. Never have we had a better run organization, or a tighter ship.

She gave school tours, she networked on the playground – she knew more people in a shorter amount of time than I ever dreamed possible – she took pictures, she created and promoted events, she advocated tirelessly, and her work was always aimed at building community, at making sure that people too often ignored had a voice and felt a part of their school. And she asked us all to work on behalf of our school, whether it was bringing snacks for an event, volunteering at the book fair or shelving books in the library. Everybody, she insisted, had a part to play.

When she moved to the district level, she worked with the same ardor and energy. She reached out to all elementary school presidents, getting them to share stories and time, so that all could focus on common goals and problems. Again, she made communication – between groups and with the administration – a priority. Her advocacy brought a spotlight to inconsistencies and inequities that flowed not from malice or mal-intent, but simple lack of openness.

She also worked to make sure the administration understood the part parents could and should play in district decision-making. Her bridge-building in this case has made the Presidents’ Council a force for positive change and given PTA leaders a broader sense of the work they can accomplish across the district. And it has allowed the administration to see how parents can act as partners, which is no small feat.

In the last couple of years, meanwhile, I have come to understand that Susie’s great competence is matched only by the size of her heart. In a district that often struggles to find common ground, and that, for all of its strengths, too often resorts to negativity, Susie finds ways to reach consensus and move forward, to build community, not destroy it, to teach us how to work together for the common good, while creating a place where individuals, and their families, thrive.

She would, in short, make an excellent board member. And I hope you will join me in casting a ballot on her – and our – behalf on November 8.

Yours truly,
Tia Swanson
South Orange

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