Election Maplewood Schools / Kids South Orange

Letter: Cutler & Trzaska Are Wise Choices for BOE, Committed to Restoring Trust, Respect 

To the Editors:

I am proudly voting for Marian Cutler and Chris Trzaska for the South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education.

Our town has seen enough false promises, mistakenly warranted poor communication, and tolerated an unnecessary lack of respect shown towards our teachers and students. It’s time we make better choices when it comes to the voices we choose to represent us on the Board of Education. We need Marian and Chris on the BOE as they are best positioned to infuse the BOE with a level of trust and respect we expect from all of the other vital relationships in our lives. 

With kids in the District, as well as kids who have successfully graduated, Marian and Chris have strong commitments to all of our schools. They also know both how important it is for our schools to serve every student, no matter their background or abilities and how our District continues to not deliver against this basic social contract. But, underneath all of that lies their relentless commitment to ensuring a high degree of transparency when it comes to BOE activities so no parent or taxpayer is left with unanswered questions or concerns.

Based on the redistricting needs, the infrastructure plans, and the reality of seating half a dozen key building administrators, the BOE needs people who will insist upon accountability for everyone involved to do their job with a high degree of excellence. We need people who will challenge suggestions and assumptions to ensure best practices and hard data points are front and center of any decision process. And, we need people who will make partners of our neighbors so everyone feels included and valuable as change takes hold.

While I’m especially fortunate to claim Marian as my own (hi, mom), one of the things you have to know about her – and about Chris – is that once you’re in their lives, you are always in their lives. With a shared sense of directness and low tolerance for nuance or spin, Marian and Chris stand out from the pack of candidates in their willingness to keep the pre-election conversations going through all available channels month after month after month as they serve as the next members of the BOE. The coffee talks, the meet and greets, the Facebook conversations don’t end on election night and should be referenced as the starting point for active relationships with SOMA neighbors and students. 

I am beyond proud of my mom for raising her hand to volunteer for the BOE, but at the end of the day that’s just what she does. And, for every Cougar Soccer family reading this, no doubt she’s helped you, respectively, at one time or another in the past 10 years. Please take a moment before going to the polls to learn more about her and Chris. Together, we can get these new and important voices onto the BOE. Our students deserve more than they’ve been getting otherwise.

Jamie Cutler

Columbia High School 2016

University of Arizona 2020

South Orange

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