Letter: Maini and Farfan Understand the Changes Our District Needs

To the Editor:

I write to enthusiastically endorse Annemarie Maini and her running mate Javier Farfan for election to the Board of Education.  I’ve known Annemarie for many years through our work together as volunteers for the Marshall and Jefferson PTAs and our work together as co-presidents of the South Orange Middle School (SOMS) HSA Board from 2013 – 2015. She is incredibly smart, caring and involved, and has demonstrated intelligence, diplomacy and discipline during our volunteer time together as well as over the past three years on the Board of Education.

Annemarie has both an education background and a corporate one. In her early career she taught math before launching her private sector career at JP Morgan Chase. Eleven years ago she returned to her education roots and is now the director of the South Orange Country Day school, a Montessori pre-school.

Annemarie is a true community leader.  Prior to serving on the Board of Education, Annemarie had a long volunteer and leadership history in our schools and community.  In addition to her efforts at Jefferson and SOMS, she served on the Board of YouthNet, is a founding volunteer of PlayDay South Orange, was Vice President of the West Montrose Neighborhood Association and Team Mom for the U12/U14 Morris Rugby Club for many years.

I’ve known Annemarie for a long time and there are a few traits she has consistently demonstrated that I greatly admire:

  • she is passionate about ensuring ALL children are served well by our district;
  • she is a collaborative team player committed to building consensus;
  • she has demonstrated the ability to help people work effectively together to implement successful and impactful change in practices and policy;
  • she is not interested in power or ego; her sole motivation and objective is to move the needle forward and improve the educational experience for every single child in this school district.

In addition, Annemarie is very well-informed about educational issues, including those related to a student’s emotional well-being.  She understands the many complex factors that can affect a student’s ability to do well and thrive in school. She also has a comprehensive understanding of the district budget and other financial challenges our district faces.

I believe all of these characteristics are essential for a Board Member who will be part of the team that selects our next superintendent, guides our district through a comprehensive capital improvement plan, and oversees the reconfiguration of our school buildings.

I’ve only recently gotten to know Javier and agree with Annemarie that he is someone who will be an asset to our Board of Education. They both share the conviction that all children are capable of excellence and an understanding of the changes that need to happen in our district to improve the way all children are served. Javier is a senior marketing executive but also has a strong education background. He is co-founder of two major educational initiatives still going strong, JUMP Nation and the Urban Assembly School for Young Women in Business. He is also an adjunct professor at Seton Hall University. I encourage you to read more about both Annemarie and Javier at  https://www.boe2018.com/.

Please join me in voting for Annemarie Maini and Javier Farfan for Board of Education on Tuesday, November 6.

Thank you,

Jessie Wendt
South Orange

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