LETTER: Fmr. Mayor McGehee Endorses Sackett-Gable, Callahan & Meyer

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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

On the first Tuesday in November, New Jersey registered voters have the right and opportunity to choose people who they think (and hope) will lead our community with integrity, transparency, and empathy in the years ahead.

On November 7th, I will be casting one of my votes for Will Meyer to represent the South Orange-Maplewood School District on the Board of Education.

Will has many of the attributes which I think will make him a fantastic and effective leader and public servant to our community. He understands the importance of listening to all constituents, and equally understands that the issues that we have in front of us in our school district and as taxpayers are wide-ranging, multi-faceted, complex and demand our collective attention. He knows that he cannot simply align with one faction or simply do what’s “popular” or make everyone happy. At times, leadership can be lonely and it requires critical thinking, being well-informed, asking the tough questions, doing the hard work behind the scenes, collaborating with many key stakeholders, speaking truth to power and ultimately making thoughtful decisions that best represent our students and their families, teachers, staff, administrators and the community at large.

I’ve had the opportunity to watch Will in action through two campaign cycles now and I have been impressed both times. When Will did not win the Board of Ed election in 2022, he remained actively engaged. He attended meetings and spoke during public speaks about critical issues. He listened to and spoke with current BOE members and residents throughout our community and attended many events. He continued to do the work.

Will has also been an advocate for special needs families in our community extending his commitment to this important issue as an education attorney. Those actions are a display of real leadership, energy, commitment, compassion and drive – all critical attributes to being a leader of the people. As there is no short list of issues or challenges, I am confident that he will continue to step in and step up.

Will is part of a strong and impressive slate that includes Shayna Sackett-Gable, a longtime former teacher/math coach at Seth Boyden as well as a past Co-President of the President’s Council, and Liz Callahan, who has been engaged in the community and in guiding school districts providing behavioral support to our greatest asset, our children. I plan to also cast votes for Shayna and Liz and look forward to their continued service as BOE members.

Collectively, Will, Shayna and Liz will rise to the expectations of a community that has changed so much in the 10+ years that my family and I have lived here. Today, it’s a very different community which continues to evolve, most notably fueled by many new and incredibly vibrant, dynamic, accomplished, and innovative young families that have decided to make Maplewood and South Orange their new home.

Our community needs residents who are willing to roll up their sleeves to serve and lead at the highest level and build on the great work of those who served before them. Will, Shayna and Liz will meet that aim and I hope that with your vote and support that they will have the space and the agency to serve.

Please join me by Tuesday November 7th and vote for Meyer, Sackett-Gable and Callahan for Board of Education in the South Orange-Maplewood School District.

Frank McGehee
Maplewood, NJ

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