Election

Letter: Cuttle Brings Both Passion and Expertise

To the Editor:

Shannon Cuttle is a visionary leader, organizer, and policy expert. Their experience, skills, and expertise would be invaluable to the BOE.

After an early career as teacher and principal in Detroit, Shannon headed to Washington, DC to research and promote best practices for creating safe, welcoming, inclusive schools.  In Washington, Shannon successfully wrote the very first comprehensive city-wide anti-bullying legislation in the country.  Shannon also dove into researching all aspects of educational policy, becoming a nationally recognized expert.  Shannon was subsequently recruited to advise staff in Congress and the Obama administration on creating best-in-class educational policies and programs.

Since being recruited to NJ six years ago as Managing Director of Youth and Anti-Bullying Programs at Garden State Equality, Shannon has worked actively within our towns to promote inclusive and welcoming schools, based on best educational practices and policy.  In addition to advising and assisting numerous individual students and families, Shannon co-created the CHS food pantry to reduce food insecurity; co-created the Prom Pop-up Shop to allow all students to participate in senior prom; served as a popular chaperone for Midnight Madness; served as Chair of the SOMA Action Education Committee; and advised and supported the SOMA Action Student Leadership Committee.  Shannon has also attended nearly every BOE meeting in person for the past several years.

I have observed Shannon’s unique expertise and devotion to students and families lead to safer and more productive schools inside and outside the classroom.  As a passionate, caring, knowledgeable, and responsive communicator, Shannon has the temperament and communication skills to work with all families and with all members of the BOE to bring about positive change and improved educational opportunity for every student.

The Board’s primary responsibilities are to establish policies and goals for our district, to hire and supervise the Superintendent, and to approve the annual budget.  Shannon’s past experience in the classroom and in administration, along with their expertise on educational policy, school climate, and supporting under-served students, is a perfect fit.  Shannon is the expert, passionate leader that we need to move our BOE and out District forward through the complex set of issues we face.

I urge you to join me in voting for Shannon Cuttle on Tuesday, November 6!

Steve Mershon

Maplewood

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