LETTER: Bennett & Mazzocchi Will Bring Experience, Institutional Memory Back to BOE


3 of 9 seats on the South Orange-Maplewood Board of Ed are up for a vote. Election Day is November 7.

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The South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education election takes place on Tuesday, November 7, 2023. Three of nine seats are up for election. Three candidates filed to run by the July deadline and appear on the ballot: Shayna Sackett-Gable, Liz Callahan and Will Meyer. Two candidates, Jeff Bennett and Anthony Mazzocchi, announced a write-in campaign on October 7. Village Green is posting letters of support for all candidates: Deadline for submission is October 31 at 5 p.m. Read our guidelines here. Read all our election coverage here

There are 5 candidates in the BOE election, and I will be writing in Anthony Mazzocchi and Jeff Bennett.

In the 20 years that I have lived in South Orange, I have witnessed many waves of hope and discouragement relating to the SOMSD Board of Education. My two children, an 8th grader at SOMS and a junior at Columbia have had a rich and fulfilling education benefitting from the many dedicated teachers in our district. While the leadership in the district has come and gone, the teachers have kept our students learning and thriving, and, as was made clear at the last BOE meeting, they need the support of experienced Board of Education members who are up to the task of solving the problems at hand, and will hold district leadership accountable.

And that is why when I go vote in this Board of Education election, I will be writing in the names of Anthony Mazzocchi and Jeff Bennett who will bring experience and institutional memory back to the Board of Education. There are many important issues at stake in this election, and I am confident that the expertise that Mazzocchi and Bennett bring will be an asset to the Board.

In the years that I have been engaged with our school district, I have seen Mazzocchi bring a clear and thoughtful vision and voice to the problems at hand valuing communication, transparency, as well as the knowledge and experience our teachers bring to the table. I have also seen Bennett approach issues by taking the time to analyze data and results, synthesizing that information to facilitate data and fact-based decision making and planning. These skills will make them indispensable members of the Board of Education.

We are at a critical juncture in our district, still recovering from the pandemic, but looking to the future for our students. My top priorities are ensuring that the district is led by someone who values and respects our teachers and students; that our Board of Education has members with insight and experience with the issues facing our district; and that the teachers’ voices are heard and valued. To accomplish these goals, it is clear that writing in Anthony Mazzocchi and Jeff Bennett for Board of Education on election day is the best choice for our students, our teachers, and our district.

Anina Rossen
South Orange, NJ

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