To the Editors:
I ran for the Board of Education last year for three main reasons. All three of these reasons lead me to support Tony Mazzocchi for the Board this year.
First, I believe that education at its best, whether in my field of teaching reading and language arts or in Tony’s field of teaching music, involves both a passion for rigor and a passion for creativity. Tony embodies both of these. As a board member, he can help lead us beyond ideological debates, towards initiatives that combine necessary skills-oriented and content-based approaches with empowering students and others in our schools to create and innovate.
Second, as a former public school teacher and a current teacher educator at Montclair State University, I believe strongly that a school board benefits from having some members who are educators, and who understand how education succeeds and fails from the inside. As a Montclair State colleague of mine, a former SOMSD district administrator, and a former teacher, Tony has comprehensive knowledge of our school system and a wonderful range of experience and skills as an educator. For years, until this year, the South Orange-Maplewood BOE has had at least two, and sometimes more, educator members. Now there is only one, Johanna Wright, and no one with a higher education perspective. With his deep educational background, Tony would be a great addition to the current board mix.
Finally, I believe that good teaching and an engaged, committed faculty are crucial to our district’s success. As a BOE candidate, Tony has a truly rare combination of high-level administrative experience with a track record of accomplishment along with ability to empathize with teachers, support teachers, and receive their support. We in South Orange and Maplewood are very lucky to have such a candidate. I urge you to support him on November 8!
Dr. Margaret (Peggy) Freedson is Associate Professor with the Department of Early Childhood, Elementary and Literacy Education at Montclair State University and the mother of two SOMSD students, a 4th grader at South Mountain Elementary and an 11th grader at CHS.