To the Editor:
I’ve been a little distracted with our National Elections to pay too much attention to our local Board of Education Election. Having now turned my attention much closer to home I am supporting the candidacy of Anthony J. Mazzocchi for South Orange-Maplewood BOE.
While I initially had some concerns about Tony’s stance on standardized tests I want to say that having had an opportunity to talk to him at a coffee the other day I can report that his position is actually quite a bit more nuanced then had been apparent from debates and websites.
Having spent 15 years in various education positions from teacher to supervisor, he has a much more practical/reasonable take than I had expected. He understands that a board must work within the State rules and he knows there will continue to be standardized tests of one form or another. What he argues for is resisting the mindset that leads our district to narrow our curriculum and place value only on those elements which are measured by these tests.
His experience with the district as student, parent and administrator is valuable. Right now we have a dearth of board members with education experience. He would be an important voice. He can see the forest for the trees and is capable of asking the right questions, honing in on the organizational operations necessary to oversee our district’s implementation of the important and complex work of the strategic plan. His experience running a school at Montclair State means he knows how to work creatively within budgets, work within complex organizations and achieve consensus and buy-in among colleagues.
He is not “just an arts guy” as some have tried to portray him. He cares and thinks deeply about how kids learn and how to create educational environments that can give all kids opportunities.
I encourage you to reach out to him to talk and see for yourself.
Morrisa da Silva