Letter: Maini & Farfan Will Ensure Changes Are Made Thoughtfully, Equitably

To the Editor:

I am writing to express my enthusiastic support for Annemarie Maini and Javier Farfan for South Orange Maplewood Board of Education. Their shared commitment to a fair and equitable education for all children, their understanding of what we need in a new superintendent, and their demonstrated leadership skills make them stand out as the best candidates for the BOE.

Our community and school district are poised to make important changes in the next several years, from better integrating the schools, to hiring a Superintendent who can make progress on closing the achievement gap, to improving the facilities where our children learn and grow each day. Annemarie and Javier are the best candidates to ensure that those changes are made as thoughtfully and equitably as possible.

Annemarie is a proven advocate for children. Her beloved preschool is a model for child-centered education, and parents of her students look to her for guidance and support long after their children have moved on to elementary school. She is dedicated to our community, as evidenced by her involvement with South Orange Play Day, where she works hard each year to ensure that it’s a great event for our families. Having three years of experience on the Board of Ed, Annemarie understands the roles and responsibilities of board members. She’s served our community well on the Access and Equity Committee, working to ensure an equitable education for all children. She’s built solid working relationships with fellow board members as well as the interim superintendent. She is a voice of thoughtful reason and brings a wealth of experience in child-focused education to her position. I truly believe that her re-election is vital to advancing the changes that are beginning to take root in our district.

Javier has over 20 years of experience in senior marketing positions for major corporations. He credits his professional success to the education he received growing up and to caring teachers who were able to recognize potential in a Latino student with limited English skills. Javier has a demonstrated commitment to underserved populations. While in college, he and a friend founded the nonprofit Jump Nation to serve at-risk youth. Several years later, he helped another friend establish a new public high school in NYC, the Urban Assembly School for Young Women in Business. Javier and his wife, Nathalie, have a four-year-old son who will start kindergarten next year. They’re both active in the community, with involvement in Morrow Church, the Community Coalition on Race, and the Maplewood Arts Council. Javier’s skills, experience, and commitment will be a real asset to our district.

As a parent with two children in the South Orange Maplewood School District, I have a vested interest in making our schools the best that they can be. I want my kids to attend engaging schools, where all students feel welcome and safe, with teachers and administrators who inspire each and every student to learn and grow. I know Annemarie and Javier are prepared to move our district forward in finding a new superintendent, repairing infrastructure, and making sure that each school represents the community as a whole. Please join me in voting for Annemarie Maini and Javier Farfan on November 6th.


Christine Houseworth

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