To the editor,
I am writing to express my strong support for the candidacy of Shannon Cuttle for SOMA Board of Education. I am an active community member, parent of two young children, and I worked in our district for eight years. I see the challenges that we have faced and the need for board members that can move us forward with innovation, communication, and create safe school environments where leaders and staff have training and mentoring in order for all students to flourish. Shannon is the candidate that has ideas and solutions to our most pressing problems, and we share the belief that we all play a part to make this district stronger.
By being an active member of our community, with a strong record of creating education policy, Shannon has provided guidance and resources to the leaders of the town and members of the school board. Students and families have reached out to Shannon for resources and support as an advocate in many ways including support to navigate the HIB (harassment, intimidation and bullying) issues they have faced. Shannon, a natural mentor, has a proven record working for all students as an educator, leader, and community organizer. Shannon is getting my vote because of the attributes that I believe a board member should possess in order to create change. Shannon listens with interest and care about of the needs of our community and wants to do more communication outreach to hear from students and families about their experiences to drive improvement. Through policy work Shannon has done, at the state and federal level, Shannon has honed an ability to build consensus while working with those who have diverse opinions.
My respect and admiration for Shannon also comes from our shared classroom experiences supporting all student learners. Shannon has shared meaningful and impactful stories of and standing up for all students and families. Those experiences, and many others, propelled them into policy making, in order to help more children by creating systemic and valuable change. For example, Shannon led the effort to pass the first city-wide anti-bullying policy in the nation in Washington, DC.
I am honored to know Shannon and believe Shannon’s past experiences, compassion and knowledge will enable them to enhance our district by serving on the school board. I believe that Shannon will advocate for a district of schools that is safe and equitable for all of our children in reality, beyond a piece of paper. Shannon has a history of listening to the community members – in the schools experiencing their education and to their families – to create changes that support our learners and their families. We don’t just need ANYONE to be on the board, we need someone with the heart, the vision, and the leadership ability to make changes necessary to close the wide achievement gap and deal with the difficult issues facing our district.
Shannon moved to NJ to work for Garden State Equality and chose to make a home in Maplewood. We are fortunate that Shannon is offering to serve our community with 20 years of expertise and experience in education. We are fortunate that Shannon chose the SOMA community, and I am choosing Shannon. Please join me in voting for Shannon – getting involved and being informed gives you the chance to play your part to making this district stronger for all the kids that live here.